Lion, Brass with Copper Tongue 

Tamil Nadu, Nayak

c. 18th Century

Approx. 29 inches (head to tail)


Animal sculptures can occasionally be very hard to place, and the exact origin of this brass lion has not been established at present, beyond the fact that it certainly comes from India.  The features of the face - in particular the eyes - and the heavy chain round the neck which frequently appears on Indian animal carvings, the paisley pattern on the haunches, and the elaborate jewel on top of the head are all evidence that this gentle beast was created somewhere in the subcontinent of India. The generous size and high quality of the casting, made in separate hollow sections and carefully joined together, moreover indicate a center of production with fluent proficiency in metallurgical techniques. The creature's head, with its large, appealing eyes, vigorous mane, and riveted copper tongue, was once further embellished by the singular shine of a now missing inlay of colored stone or glass.