Late 11th Century
Height: 22 in (55 cm)
Representations of lions have been seen for centuries in the Central Indian region. Apart from Kushan lions, which were stylistically very different, portrayals such as this one began from the 7th century onwards. Such earlier ones had certain traits and features that set them apart. All of them would have once formed part of old architecture, and would have mostly been placed as a pair to give the feeling of guardian beasts.
Most such sculptures tend to be either just heads or the upper torso, if not full figures in a highly mutilated form. It is rare to find a large complete sculpture in such a good condition with such an imposing form.
The beast is seen standing at attention on its hind legs. The tail is long and thrown up in a curl. The face is expressive with the mouth wide open in a realistic manner. The upper torso is majestic in appearance, and the paws are carved in a very realistic manner with great detailing. The motifs seen on the body are typical of the period. The entire look imparted is that of a very powerful ferocious creature.
Lionel figures of this scale, completeness, condition and quality are very rare to come by. They would have once occupied a prominent spot in ancient architecture in Central India.