Guardian Griffin

Guardian Griffin

1150-1175

Part of a set. See all set records

Pink limestone (called "Verona Marble")

Overall: 76.7 x 47.3 x 119.9 cm (30 3/16 x 18 5/8 x 47 3/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1928.861.2

Description

Griffins are fabled creatures that have the characteristics of an eagle and a lion--combining watchfulness and courage. In Christian art, the dual nature of the griffin was often used to signify that of Christ himself: divine (bird) and human (animal). Griffins were often used as guardian figures in church sculpture and were placed in portals and choir screens. The creatures seen here, with their inward-turning heads, were certainly used for such a purpose. When viewed from the front, one griffin may be seen protecting the figure of a knight between its paws, while the other griffin guards a calf. Their original function was probably to support the columns of a porch in front of a church doorway.

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