Category: Bronze & Ormolu
Subcategory: Objects D'Art
A large well-cast early 19th Century model of the Assyrian Sphinx Lamasu, raised on black marble plinth base.
The Lamassu is an Assyrian protective deity, often depicted as having a human's head, a body of a bull or a lion, with bird's wings. They are protective deities because they encompass all life within them.
The winged animal with a human head motif is common to the Near East, first recorded in Ebla around 3000 BC and first appearing in Assyria during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser II as a symbol of power. Prominent pairs of Lumasi were placed at entrances in Assyrian palaces, facing the street and also internal courtyards. They were represented as 'double-aspect' figures on corners, in high relief. From the front they appear to stand, and from the side, walk, and in earlier versions have five legs, as is apparent when viewed obliquely. This bronze statue is representing a Lamassu from the North-West Palace in Nimrud (during Ashurnasipal II's reign, about 865-860 BC), currently exhibited at the British Museum in London.