High Relief of a Lion

Unidentified Artist1st century BCE - 2nd century CE

Harvard Art Museums

Harvard Art Museums
Cambridge, United States

This thick-walled relief depicts a frontal lion standing on a base. The roaring lion has a roundish head, big, bulging eyes, and an open mouth with protruding tongue. Small horns emerge from his muzzle, forehead, brows, and legs. The mane is rendered in elongated tufts, while the fur on the chest is depicted in stylized S-curves. The paws are highly simplified in the form of four vertical ribs. It is unclear whether there once was an inscription on the base and some kind of ornament in the badly preserved area below it.

The back is open at the top but closed at the legs and base. There is a triangular hole in one of the legs, and two rectangular ones appear in the base. The underside of the base is uneven and seems to have had two rectangular holes, one of which is now broken. A tang projects from the back of the base. A patch or seam is visible in the casting on the inside of the head.


  • Title: High Relief of a Lion
  • Creator: Unidentified Artist
  • Date: 1st century BCE - 2nd century CE
  • Technique: Cast, lost-wax process
  • Physical Dimensions: w20.5 x h36.5 x d19.5 cm
  • Period: Sabaean period
  • Credit Line: Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
  • Creation Place: South Arabia/Asia/Ancient & Byzantine World
  • Type: Sculpture
  • External Link: Harvard Art Museums
  • Medium: Leaded bronze

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