- Guennol Lioness
Guennol Lionessis a 5000-year-old Mesopotamian statue found near Baghdad, Iraq. Depicting a well-muscled anthropomorphic lioness, it sold for $57.2 million at Sotheby'sauction house on December 5 2007. The price was the highest ever paid for a sculpture in history. The piece was acquired by private collector Alastair Bradley Martin in 1948 and has been on display in New York's Brooklyn Museum of Artever since.
The limestone piece, measuring just over eight centimeters (3 1/4 inches) tall, was described by Sotheby's auction house as "one of the last known masterworks from the dawn of civilization remaining in private hands." [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071206/ts_afp/entertainmentartusantiquityauction Agence France-Presse, displayed at news.yahoo.com, 12/5/2007] ] One day before the auction, experts mostly estimated the highest bid to be between $14 million and $18 million.It also beat the 28.6 million dollars paid for
"Artemis and the Stag,"[ [http://www.culturekiosque.com/art/artmrkt/artemis_sothebys.html Bronze Sculpture of Artemis and the Stag Brings $28.6M at Sotheby's and Sets World Record ] ] a 2,000-year-old bronze figure which sold also at Sotheby's in New York in June, 2007 and held the record for the most expensive antiquity to be sold at auction.
The "Lioness Demon", a 5,000-year-old
Elamitefigure created ca. 3000-2800 BC, was listed as belonging to the Brooklyn Museum of Art until it was auctioned off to an English collector. [ [http://www.artsjournal.com/culturegrrl/2007/12/guennol_lioness_auction_brookl.html CultureGrrl: ] ] Its historical significance is that it was created at about the same time when the first known use of the wheel, the development of cuneiformwriting, and the emergence of the first cities were recorded. [ [http://goddesschess.blogspot.com/2007/12/guennol-lioness-to-be-auctioned.html Chess, Goddess and Everything: Guennol Lioness To Be Auctioned ] ] [ [http://www.artdaily.org/section/news/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=21739 Art Daily] ]
These humanlike animal figures can be seen in the top and bottom registers of the trapezoidal front panel from the famous Great Lyre from the "King's Grave" (ca. 2650-2550 BC), which was discovered by British archaeologist
Sir Leonard Woolleyearly in the 20th century at Urin present-day Iraq.
A great deal of ancient
Near East deitieswere represented in anthropomorphicfigures, i.e. merged human and animal features. Such humanlike animal images evoked the Mesopotamians' belief in attaining power over the physical world by combining the superior physical attributes of various species.The nearby Sumerians possibly borrowed this powerful artistic hybrid from the Proto-Elamites. [Porada, Edith. “A Leonine Figure of the Protoliterate Period of Mesopotamia,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 70, No. 4. (Oct.-Dec. 1950), 223-226.]
*Aruz, Joan (ed.), et al. Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus (exh. cat.). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2003, 42-44, 105-107.
*Zettler, Richard L. and Lee Horne (eds.). Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur (exh. cat.). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1998, 53-57.
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