Ancient Roman Bronze crouching lion, Late Roman Period, 300-500 AD
The lion is crouching with its hind legs bent under the body and its forelegs stretched forward. The head is upraised and the tail is twisted under the body and up around the right back hip. The lion head with large eyes and open jaws exposing a pipe opening in the mouth. The mane is covering the fore part of the elongated body. The features of the head and the mane are incised. This large bronze lion is modeled with a majestic attitude, with strong expression of the face. It is modeled in the Late Roman style, with large eyes and with schematic details of the mane and the paws.
In the classical world, lions symbolized power, wealth, and might. They were famously featured in many ancient myths, perhaps the most famous being that of Hercules slaying the Nemean lion for his first labor. Lions were also favorite iconography for buildings, coins, and statues.