British Museum

Parthenon marbles

The gallery will place this great collection in its fullest historical context, integrating art with archaeology, with objects from Britain, Europe and Byzantium. Fine art copies can be bought
including a Winged Lion bookend £50.00
This is one of a pair of guardian figures that flanked one of the entrances into the throne room of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC). Stone mythological guardians, sculpted in relief or in the round, were often placed at gateways to ancient Mesopotamian palaces, to protect them from demonic forces. They were known to the Assyrians as lamassu. This winged lion has five legs so that when viewed from the front it is standing firm, and when viewed from the side it appears to be striding forward against any evil. It wears ropes like other protective spirits. Between the legs is inscribed the 'Standard Inscription' of Ashurnasirpal which is repeated over many of his relief's. It records the king's titles, ancestry and achievements. The helmet with horns indicates the creature's divinity.