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Colossal marble lion from a tomb monument
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Тhis colossal lion, carved from a single block of marble, weighs some six tons and is now on display in the Great Court of the Museum. It was originally on the top of a funerary monument at Knidos, set on a headland with a sheer cliff-face that falls around 200 feet into the sea. The monument itself was square with a circular interior chamber and a stepped-pyramid roof. It is a type of funerary monument inspired by the greater tomb of Maussollos, built about 350 BC at Halikarnassos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and less than a day’s sail from Knidos.

Opinions vary as to when the sculpture was made. One suggestion is that the monument commemorated a naval battle fought between Athens and Sparta off the coast of Knidos in 394 BC. Another dates the Doric architecture of the tomb, and therefore the lion, to about 175 BC.

Colossal marble lion from a tomb monument

From Knidos, southwest Asia Minor (modern Turkey), c.350-200 BC
L. 300 cm.
Ht 200 cm.

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