Statuette of a Lion


Italian (Meuse Valley) (?)
Medieval (Romanesque)
mid-12th century (?)

Object Place: Europe, Italy (?)


15.7 x 6.9 cm (6 3/16 x 2 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Brass (81.9% copper, 16.5% zinc, 1.1% lead, .5% tin)

Not On View





Standing frontal lion with holes on the back and hind quarters and what appears to be a mold line on the mane and chest. Hollow body, solid head, and legs cast in one piece, chased and punched; feet, of a slightly different alloy, cast separately and attached with lead-tin solder. The large head has crudely carved features: concave ears set high, circular eyes marked by two uneven parallel lines on the top and one the bottom, a flat nose without indication of nostrils, and a large mouth displaying triangular teeth at the sides and an uncarved area in the center (perhaps indicating a curled tongue). A stylized mane of curly tufts marked by rows of small parallel undulating lines emanates from the center of the forehead and flows down the back behind the ears. The animal is stocky with a ballooning chest, thin front legs, unusually large hind feet and rounded hind quarters. Its two sides are slightly asymmetrical; the holes on the back and hind quarters are misregistered. A curious raised band runs between the two holes, and the underside of the hind quarters is roughly finished. A hole on the underside of the front left paw is filled with solder.


1939, E. and A. Silberman Galleries, New York; 1939, sold by Silberman to the MFA for $1000. (Accession Date: October 11, 1939)

Credit Line

Otis Norcross Fund