photo by Jacob Silberberg
The Lioness of Guennol ", a Mesopotamian statuette of 8 centimeters high, which belonged to an individual, was described as a" major masterpiece of all times, "dating back to the dawn of civilization. This distinctive sculpture shows a remarkably powerful depiction of a demonic feline who stands on her hind legs while pressing her front paws together in the center of her massive chest. It is conceived frontally, with its head turned to be seen in profile. The figure can be identified as Proto-Elamite on the basis of comparisons with seal impressions from the site of Susa in southwestern Iran impressed on tablets inscribed with Proto-Elamite script. The abstract curved forms of the figure are compacted with an almost explosive pressure that gives the small lion demon a monumentality that could be sustained at a much greater scale. Although the stark white color appeals to today's tastes, this figure originally was probably quite colorful. From its tail might have emerged long colorful streamers of perhaps gold ribbon, and its lower hind legs were certainly constructed of precious metal, either gold or silver. On the back of the head of the feline are four holes that are drilled through. Although these holes may also have accommodated streamers, they were possibly threaded with a thong that allowed the demon to be suspended, probably from the neck of a powerful leader.
- Carved from limestone
- Thought to have symbolic or religious significance for the Ancient Mesopotamians