Striding lion with Eros child (one of a pair)

Historical period(s)
early 1st century BCE-mid 1st century CE
H x W x D (S2013.2.77.2): 63.5 × 75.2 × 19.4 cm (25 × 29 5/8 × 7 5/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of The American Foundation for the Study of Man (Wendell and Merilyn Phillips Collection)
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Sackler Gallery 22b: Ancient Yemen: Incense, Art, and Trade
Metalwork, Sculpture


boy, lion, Wendell and Merilyn Phillips collection, Yemen
Provenance research underway.

Through their excavations, archaeologists confirmed a great fire destroyed the city of Timna in the first century CE. They also unearthed this bronze lion and its boy rider covered with a layer of ash. The rider is often identified as Eros or Child Dionysus, the latter relates to the cult of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, who was a popular figure in ancient Arabia. The sophisticated modeling and treatment of this sculpture, one of a pair, attest to the advanced bronze-casting tradition in Arabia. It also suggests the familiarity of local artists with the technical and artistic language of the Greeks.

The lion and its rider were cast separately using the lost-wax technique. An inscription on the base reads, "Thuwayb and Aqrab dhu-Muhasni placed [these figures] at Yafash. Thuwayb and Aqrab of the Muhasni family decorated the house called Yafash."

Published References
  • Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World. Exh. cat. Los Angeles, 2015. 26, pp. 240-241.
  • Leon Legrain. Archaeological Notes in the Land of the Queen of Sheba. vol. 38, no. 3 Boston, July - September 1934. .
  • Caravan Kingdoms: Yemen and the Ancient Incense Trade. Exh. cat. Washington, 2005. pl. 25.
  • Blair Fowlkes-Childs, Michael Seymour. The World Between Empires: A Picture Album. Exh. cat. New York. pp. 6, 7.
  • The World Between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East. Exh. cat. New York. p. 32, 33, Plate 20 and fig. 16.
  • St. John Simpson. Queen of Sheba: treasures from ancient Yemen. London. p. 129.
  • Archaeological Discoveries in South Arabia. Baltimore. pp. 155-178.
Collection Area(s)
Ancient Near Eastern Art
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