The Guennol Lioness (3rd millenium BCE); a 5,000-year-old Mesopotamian statue depicting an Anthropomorphic Lioness. The statue was found near Baghdad in modern day Iraq and is on display in New York City’s Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Guennol Lioness - one of the oldest examples of art. Mesopotamia, 5000 years old.

This lioness-woman sculpture, an Elamite figure believed to have been created circa 3000–2800 B.C. Its historical significance is that it is thought to have been created at approximately the same time as the first known use of the wheel, the development of cuneiform writing, and the emergence of the first cities. Such anthropomorphic figures, merging animal and human features, may be seen in the top and bottom registers of the trapezoidal front panel of the famous Great Lyre from the “King’s Grave” (circa 2650–2550 B.C.), which was discovered by British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley early in the twentieth century at Ur in present-day Iraq.Many ancient Near East deities were represented in anthropomorphic figures. Such images evoked the Mesopotamian belief in attaining power over the physical world by combining the superior physical attributes of various species. It is possible that the nearby Sumerians borrowed this powerful artistic hybrid from the Proto-Elamites.[8] The lioness was the frequent subject of veneration among cultures with exposure to the characteristic hunting techniques of the species that feature well-coordinated hunting by its female members. Sold for $57.2 million in 2007