Overall: 13.8 x 12 cm (5 7/16 x 4 3/4 in.)
Gift of the John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1920.2001
In antiquity, lions were often associated with rulers and this miniature sculpture likely depicts the Egyptian lion god Mahes. In ancient Egypt, a special city known as Leontopolis, or "Lion-City," had a temple dedicated to this deity in which live lions were kept. This small limestone sculpture would have been at home in such a location.
Lions in Egyptian art are usually shown prone and relaxed, and usually represent the king. But this statuette probably represents the lion god Mahes who had a great temple at Leontopolis ("Lion-City") in the Delta where lions were kept. We know from classical authors that the temple maintained musicians to play to the lions to calm their nerves.
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