Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Guardian Lion

Date:
11th–early 12th century
Culture:
Cambodia or Thailand
Medium:
Stone
Dimensions:
H. 42 7/8 in. (109 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.406
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 249
Guardian lions flanked the main approaches to the sanctuary of most Khmer temples and were also placed along the stairways and on terraces. The lion, representing royalty, strength, and courage, was the personal symbol of the Khmer kings, who were believed to be gods as well. Therefore, the lion as guardian of the sacred precinct suggested the ability to ward off evil through both divine and royal protection.
[ Spink & Son Ltd., Zurich , until 1979, sold to MMA]
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