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

Head of a Guardian King. Kamakura period, 13th century. Polychromed Japanese cypress (hinoki) with lacquer on cloth, inlaid crystal eyes and filigree metal crown. H. 22 1/16 x W. 10 ¼ x D. 13 15/16 in. (56 x 26 x 35.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection, 86.21. Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum.

Head of a Guardian, 13th century. Hinoki wood with lacquer on cloth, pigment, rock crystal, metal, 22 1/16 x 10 ¼ x 13 15/16 (56.0 x 26.0 x 35.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection, 86.21.

From Wiki Commons


Edo. Figure of a Hornblower, ca. 1504-50.

Copper alloy, 24 ½ x 8 ½ x 6 in. (62.2 x 21.6 x 15.2 cm).

Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection, 55.87. 

Brooklyn Museum photograph

Catalogue Description: Blowing a horn or flute with his right hand, his left arm is truncated. He wears a netted cap with chevron design decorated with a feather. Around his neck are two collars: one of coral, the other of cowrie shells and teeth. He wears a kind of vest decorated with an interlocking design and supported by a strap around his neck. This is attached at the waist to a skirt which is drawn up at the side in a point. A belt is tied in a knot around the waist, and a lower belt with tassels connecting the skirt at the back. The over-skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and other leaf forms. He wears five bracelets on his right hand. There is an undershirt exposed on the left side which has an interlocking design. The lower border of the outfit has a guilloche pattern. Condition: Generally good although the left arm is truncated just below the shoulder and the horn or flute is broken off at both ends. The tip of the feather on the cap is broken off, too. Judging from the surface which is remarkable in that it is free from corrosion products or patination, it has been kept mostly or entirely in protected places.