Sumerian Steatite Lionhead

Culture: Sumerian
Period: Mid 3rd millennium B.C.
Material: Steatite, shell limestone
Dimensions: 3.5 cm long
Price: Sold
Ref: 6219
Provenance: Jean-Philippe Mariaud de Serres, acquired prior to 1990. Thence Christie’s auction on 16/17 February 2011, lot 134.
Condition: Intact
Description: Very finely worked lionhead of black stone, possibly steatite, with inlayed eye frames of shell limestone. In the indentation were once possibly pupils of lapis lazuli, blue remains in the left eye are still recognizable. Perforations in the corners of the mouth and above the eyes also were with inlays of a different material. In the slightly open mouth red color remains. The lion head possibly originates from the royal tombs in Ur and served as a finial of a handle or a furniture. See a clearly larger, but stylistically similar lionhead in the Penn Museum, Philadelphia, object number B17064. Mounted.