The Guennol Lioness is said to have been found near Baghdad, Iraq, in 1931.
The sculpture had been acquired by a private collector, Alastair Bradley Martin in 1948 from the collection of Joseph Brummer, and had been on display at Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York City from that time until 2007.
The limestone sculpture, carved in about 3000 BC, is just over 8 cm tall, and represents woman with the head of a lion
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.
Many ancient Near East deities were represented as anthropomorphic figures, illustrating the Mesopotamian belief that power over the physical world could be attained by combining the superior physical attributes of various species.
The owners decided to sell the sculpture, and it was sold for $57.2 million at Sotheby’s auction house on December 5, 2007. It was described by Sotheby’s as “one of the last known masterworks from the dawn of civilisation remaining in private hands.”Because the purchaser was anonymous, nobody is quite sure of the location. What we can know for sure, however, is that it is not available to the public, and that there is no indication that it will be again.
Can this be right?
BT, Meeting No 20, 10 July 2018