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Recumbent Lion

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The Egyptians used leonine images for a variety of purposes, including depictions of lions themselves, as figures of powerful goddesses such as Wadjet, Bastet, or Sakhmet, or as symbols of the king. Artisans had to add specific iconographic details to help the viewer understand what lilian" was meant. Recent research has demonstrated that sculptures such as this, showing a recumbent lion with his head turned and his paws crossed, perhaps always represent the king.

MEDIUM Limestone
  • Reportedly From: Giza, Egypt
  • DATES 305–30 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 13 3/4 x 11 x 27 3/8 in., 144 lb. (35 x 28 x 69.5 cm, 65.32kg) 33.382a: 89 lb. (40.37kg) 33.382b: 55 lb. (24.95kg)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 33.382a-b
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Archaeological provenance not yet documented; before 1914, purchased from Joseph Altounian of Paris, France by the Brummer Gallery, Paris; June 16, 1922, purchased from the Brummer Gallery (P341) by Elie Nadelman of New York, NY; February 24, 1932, purchased from Elie Nadelman by the Brummer Gallery, New York; October 5, 1933, purchased from the Brummer Gallery (N2981) by the Brooklyn Museum.
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Large recumbent limestone lion made in two parts, resting on an oblong base, front paws crossed, tail curled on base in front with the head facing front. Mane has incised details. Condition: Sculpture in two parts (a=head; b=rear part). Apparently made that way originally as the breaks are evidently ancient. Large ancient dowels are on each inner side of the two pats. Purpose of having two parts not evident. Said to be a sculptor's trial model. Various minor chips. Over rear of head extending over one ear was heavy crystallized gravel deposit. The workmanship is good.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Recumbent Lion, 305–30 B.C.E. Limestone, 13 3/4 x 11 x 27 3/8 in., 144 lb. (35 x 28 x 69.5 cm, 65.32kg). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 33.382a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 33.382a-b_PS9.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 33.382a-b_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2016
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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