Waterspout in the Shape of a Lion
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
In addition to channeling occasional storm water from temple roofs and walls, waterspouts such as this one were believed to have magical qualities. Akin to sphinxes, the leonine images symbolized power and guarded the structures they adorned.
Dynasty 26, or later
Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
7 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 8 9/16 in. (19 x 11.5 x 21.7 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Sculptor's model of a head of a lion used as a gargoyle. The lion's head rests against a flat wall. Two roughly modeled feet stretch out below enclosing a trough. The modeling is fine and the piece is in excellent condition. This was evidently intended as a model of an architectural detail. This motif was used in Egyptian architecture as early as the ancient kingdom although this piece doubtless is not earlier than the Saite age and is probably later.
Condition: One large chip on the left mane and a few chips on the back panel.
This item is not on view
Waterspout in the Shape of a Lion, 664-30 B.C.E. Limestone, 7 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 8 9/16 in. (19 x 11.5 x 21.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 35.1311. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 35.1311_front_PS1.jpg)
front, 35.1311_front_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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any additional information you might have.
May I please have more information on the waterspout shaped like a lion?
As you might have already read on the label, this spout would have been positioned on a temple roof or wall.
It's like a forerunner of the gargoyles that we see much later in French Gothic architecture on cathedrals like Notre Dame. In addition to channeling the rainwater down off the roof, the lion served a protective purpose. Felines of many kinds were closely associated with royalty (especially the pharaoh himself) and various deities in ancient Egyptian culture/religion. They were important symbolic guardians, just like the everyday cats that protected the Egyptians' granaries from mice!
I don't see a hole underneath the chin for water to flow, did the water pour over the head and face?
The large pour spout is under the lower jaw. It would have been positioned on a temple roof or wall. In addition to channeling the rainwater down off the roof, the lion served a protective purpose.