Lion leg from a piece of furniture

Accession Number
Current Location
House of Life (first floor), Woodwork case
Object Type
Furniture, Furniture element
New Kingdom to Late Period
Height: 180mm
Number of Elements

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A leg from a piece of furniture in the form of a lion. The lion is standing with face to front upon a lotiform pedestal. There are remains of brown paint. There are two mortice holes, one with remains of a tenon. There is also a peg at the base of the lotus (possibly modern). If the peg is ancient, it would suggest that the structure of the bed was not strong, thus suggesting a non-utilitarian function, perhaps as a funerary bed. Graeco-Roman klinai, often appear to have flimsy legs, and can have legs in the shape of lions (Baughan, E. 2013, 47, 49, 55). Again, funerary forms would not need great strength. We do not know the identity of the leonine figure. The figure is reminiscent of other lion figures on Graeco-Roman bed legs (for example Egypt Centre W1309B), with a flat area below the head. Most depictions of lion type figures on lotuses are Bes figures. However, the Metropolitan Museum of Art 26.7.1012 is a Late Period faience lion on lotus, thought to have been part of a furniture piece. See also Brooklyn 37.1379E which is a gilded wooden, female, leonine figure on a lotus. She wears a uraeus. Nefertum could also take the form of a lion. Bastet is also sometimes shown on a lotus, though as a cat. Finally, leonine figures in amuletic form often hold staffs tipped with a lotus of papyrus flower.


Couched in death : klinai and identity in Anatolia and beyond / Elizabeth P. Baughan. Madison : University of Wisconsin Press 2013) pp.47, 49, 55.

Other Identity
Lot 377 matches the sale catalogue of Sotheby 22nd October 1934 (This label was found separate from the object, but is mentioned in lot 377 of 22.10.1934. The same lot also has 243434 (W292))
Sotheby & Co.: 22–23 Oct 1934, Lot 377
Previous Owner
Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936)
Long-term loan, The Wellcome Trust (15 Feb 1971)
Last modified: 17 Feb 2021

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