Ancient Near East, modern-day Turkey, northern Anatolia, near the Pontic Coast, Akalan culture, ca. 6th century BCE. A beautiful pottery relief fragment depicting a majestic lion in characteristic Greek-Ionian style as it strides towards the right side of the composition. Displayed in low relief with hues of black and red on the beige ground, the lion is shown with its head turned back over its intriguingly slender body, its powerful hind legs in a striding pose with its sinuous tail curving into a circle above, and the musculature of its foreleg delineated. The beast raises its left foreleg up in the air as if readying itself to attack that which it feels threatened by as indicated by its gaping maw and protruding tongue, and its black-outlined eye and striped mane only add to its ferocious presentation. A faint vertical red band behind its tail perhaps once depicted a second lion, a hunter, or even a mythological creature intent on downing the feline. A stunning example of expert Akalan artistry! Size: 8.5" W x 4.4" H (21.6 cm x 11.2 cm); 7.5" H (19 cm) on included custom stand.
Cf. Summerer, Latife. "Indigenous responses to encounters with the Greeks in Northern Anatolia: The reception of architectural terracottas in the Iron Age settlements of the Halys Basin." Meetings of Cultures in the Black Sea Region: Between Conflicts and Coexistence, Vol. 8, Aarhus University, (June 16, 2008), p. 268, fig. 4.
Provenance: ex-Harvey Sarner collection, Chicago, Illinois and Palm Springs, California, USA, before 1974
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This is a fragment of a larger composition with losses to peripheries and surrounding areas of lion as shown. Light abrasions to lion and ground, with minor fading to pigment, and encrustations across scattered areas of verso. Wonderful preservation to feline form and pigment embellishments.