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Recumbent Lion

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Special Exhibitions, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Although lions were rare in pharaonic times, having been driven south by climate change, they remained important in Egyptian culture. An image of a lion at rest communicated the power and confidence of a king and evoked the country’s tranquility.

This lion was likely one of a pair, placed on either side of an entrance, facing the visitor, the companion being its mirror image. Its eyes, once inlaid with colorful stones or glass, emphasized the ever-watchful presence of a majestic beast.
MEDIUM Limestone
  • Reportedly From: Giza, Egypt
  • DATES 305-30 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 13 3/4 in. (35 cm) Base: 11 x 27 3/8 in. (28 x 69.5 cm)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 33.382a-b
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Recumbent Lion, 305-30 B.C.E. Limestone, 13 3/4 in. (35 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 33.382a-b. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE installation, West Wing gallery A-1 installation, CUR.33.382_wwgA-1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2005
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    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.
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