Figure of a Lion
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Pre-Dynastic, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Almost all of the small figures in this case originally were placed in temples.
We do not know the significance of many of these early objects. The lion probably embodied divine or royal power, and frogs may have provided protection during childbirth, as in later times.
The figure of a squatting little boy in this case may have been offered to a god as the expression of a wish to bear children. The destructive powers of animals such as pigs, hippos, and scorpions could apparently be neutralized and even made useful through their images, as in the hippo-headed top of a mace (war club).
The ivory lioness was part of a common board game, of which partial sets have survived. The opposing side’s pieces were carved ivory figures of crouching lions or dogs.
ca. 3100-2800 B.C.E.
Dynasty 1 (probably)
Late Naqada III Period to early Dynastic Period
2 9/16 x 2 1/4 x 5 1/8 in. (6.5 x 5.7 x 13 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Light brown terracotta statuette of a lion with a minimum of detail in modeling; couchant position with four legs pointing forward. Eyes barely indicated; thick mane cross-hatched with incised lines. Tail curved over right haunch. Testicles indicated.
Condition: Perfect, except for small scratches on body.
Figure of a Lion, ca. 3100-2800 B.C.E. Terracotta, 2 9/16 x 2 1/4 x 5 1/8 in. (6.5 x 5.7 x 13 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 58.128.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , CUR.35.1273_58.128.1_erg3.jpg)
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