Lion Statue Symbolism

Lion Statue Symbolism

You have most certainly already seen a Lion Statue at the entrance of a beautiful building 🏡 for instance, in an exposition hall, a museum, in a zoo or maybe even on a square…. This is because the Lion 🦁 is among the most represented animals in the art world 🧑🎨. It can be ancient Statues, famous Statues, Bronze Statues, Brass Statues, White Marbles or Terracotta Statues etc….

lion statue in museum

They can be placed inside or outside a building 🏛️. Most often, these Statues captivate those or those who know how to contemplate and observe them. Therefore, they can be made ⛏️ from different materials like stone, bronze ⚱️, resin, and many others.

lion marble statue in museum

There are many different designs and each has its own meaning 🧠. It can be a sitting Lion, a reclining Lion, a Lion depicted standing with his mouth open and his nose turned up, a sad Lion, a 🦁 tired Lion, etc.

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When the King of the Savannah 👑 is mentioned, there are many adjectives associated with him that perfectly qualify him. The Lion is noble, imposing, royal, patient, wise, calm, charismatic, majestic, brave ⚔️ and benevolent.

If we place one or more Statues representing more or less realistically the feline 🦁 in a very specific place, in a room or a garden for example, it will add a special atmosphere and embellish the place in question. To better know this type of decoration, it is therefore necessary to understand 🧠 their meaning.

A) Symbolism of the Lion in Ancient Beliefs

winged lion statue ancient

Before we talk about Lion Statues 🦁 and their current symbolizations, it is important to know what this animal represented to different beliefs and cultures ✝️ in earlier times.

1. The Lion Statue in the Time of Oriental Civilizations

marble lion statue in temple

In ancient Eastern civilizations, the Lion was often represented as imposing Statues at the entrance 🚪 of temples for example. He acted as a guardian 🎖️. He was staged either fighting a man, or one of his fellow creatures. This demonstrated his strength, his valor and his courage 🔥.

2. The Representation of the Lion in the Israelite Tradition

stone lion of judah israel

Have you ever heard of the Lion of Judah 🦁? The Lion is a symbol very much embedded in Jewish tradition. It emphasizes strength, royalty ⚜️ and the will to independence of an entire people. It reflects a benevolent, solar ☀️ and royal image.

3. The Lion: a Double Symbol in the Christian Tradition

Among Christians, the Lion 🦁 is represented in two ways antagonistic to each other. On the one hand, the winged Lion of Saint Mark with its halo and two wings 🦋 on the other hand the Lion symbolizing the devil. The symbolism of the Lion in this religion is therefore not only benevolent 👹.

4. Lion Statues in the Middle Ages

leonine lion statues in the middle ages

During this period, sculptures of Lions 🦁 in stone decorating the portals of churches could be seen very regularly. These representations 🎭 symbolized the ecclesiastical jurisdiction exercised at the door of the churches. The Lion was considered (and is still considered today) an attribute of various great religious figures ✝️ (St. Mark, St. Venant, St. Thecla, the prophet Daniel and many others).

5. The Statuette of the Lion Man of the Aurignacian Period

On closer observation 👁️ this ancient Statue belonging to the cave art, we realize that it is a Lion head on a man’s body. Discovered in 1939 in Hohlenstein-Stadel in Germany 🇩🇪, it may have played a role in the mythology of Upper Paleolithic men 🦴. Research is still ongoing today as to the symbolism and meaning of this Statuette 🦁 from ancient times.

B) Design of the Lion Statues

Leonine brass Sculpture

The Lion Figure 🦁 has always been used to adorn thrones, palace entrances and shrines. But from time to time, the sculptor did not have enough space to design the entire animal. That’s why, on the supports of various furniture 🪑, there were ornaments representing claws 🐾. It was to further extend the body of the Lion so that it is better represented ⛏️.

1. The Lion Sculptures in Stone

lion Sculpture on Chimney

These Lion statues 🦁 are usually found outdoors. They can be seen at the entrance of a mansion or enthroned on either side of a gate in front of a charming cottage 🏡. There are different models (Lion with protruding mane, Lion sitting upright, Smiling Lion, etc). The prices are more or less high 💰 depending on the material and the model represented. The choice of its Lion Statue will depend on the use you wish to make of it but also and especially on your tastes 😍.

2. The Bronze Lion Statues

ancient bronze lion statue

A Bronze Lion statue makes one feel a strong message ⚔️. It is a symbol of courage, justice, vigilance, power 🤜 and strength. Bronze Lion Statues are very strong. They can be used as Lion Statue 🦁 indoors or as Lion Statue outdoors as well. There are also Lion Statues in Gold and Silver. The materials used play an important role ☝️ in the symbolism of the statues.

C) Lion Statues : Meaning and Symbolism in Different Countries

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In China, for example, the Lion 🦁 refers to courage, dignity and happiness. Placing stone Lion statues at the entrance of a residence, palace or tomb ⚰️ protects the entrance of the place from evil spirits and drives them away. However, and in order for these statues to properly perform their role as guardians ⚔️, their positioning must be precise and rigorous.

Thus, the female holding a cub under her left paw 🐾 should be placed on the left side of the door. As for the male, he has a ball ⚫ embroidered under his right paw and should be placed on the right. In Quebec, there is a tradition that Quebecers place one or two Lions 🦁 at the entrance of their property once the mortgage is paid 🏠.

1. The Meaning of a Lion Statue

Contemporary Lion Sculpture

Some Lion statues 🦁 were created in such a way that the people viewing them would form their own opinion and interpretation. When looking 👁️ at a statue representing the King of the Savannah, it is possible to have several different points of view. The look, the attitude, the pose, the material it was made of, etc. All of these elements are taken into account when we want to look for what the statue expresses 🥺 and makes people feel.

2. The Different Existing Lion Statues

king near lion statue

So we can find different Lion statues 🦁 made of different more or less noble materials like bronze, gold 🟡, silver, resin, plaster, terracotta, etc. These Lions can also adopt different positions that allow them to have one or more specific meanings or connotations 👓.

These Lion sculptures can be placed in the garden, at the entrance of a house 🚪, business or other building. There are either Lion statues that we put inside for a decoration or protection against an evil spell ⚔️ or to make a room more harmonious for example 🌼.

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We can also interpret in our own way what the statue suggests 👁️. Everyone is free to be able to analyze the sculpture 🦁 (according to its positioning, the expressions of its figure, its color, its dimensions, its materials etc).

D) Meanings of the Lion Statues Known Throughout the World

piedestal Antique lion Statue

Many Lion Statues were made in different countries 🌍 and at different periods of history. They were mostly used to mark events 🏆 that took place and to be able to describe them still today.

1. “the Weeping Lion” (Le Lion Qui Pleure) by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

Made in 1981 by the famous architect Auguste Rodin. The Lion is made of black wax 🕯️ and is represented on a wooden board. The details are perfectly done 🧐 and the expressions that come out in the figure of the statue are very deep and look very real. So a lot of emotions 😍 come out of this work of art.

2. The Lion of Belfort by Auguste Bartholdi

sandstone Lion of Belfort by Auguste Bartholdi

It was made 🦁 by the architect Auguste Bartholdi between 1875 and 1880. It is made of sandstone and measures 22m in length and 11 m in height. Its representation is such that it was made turning its back to the opponent with an arrow between its legs 🐾. The arrow being turned towards the enemy territory (German border) 🇩🇪.

This setting refers to the time when Europe was dominated 🔫 by a certain Otto Von Bismarck. This sandstone Lion statue therefore symbolizes the resistance 💣 and the energy of defense of the city of Belfort under the orders of Colonel Denfert Rochereau against the siege of the Prussian army 🎖️.

3. The Terrace of the Lions (Island of Delos)

Terrace of the Lions Island of Delos

Delos is an island 🏝️ near Greece and located in the Aegean Sea. One of the striking historical heritages of this place are the Lions of Delos. They are 9 in number and dominate ⚔️ on a terrace above a small sacred lake.

Symbolically speaking, these Lion statues 🦁 made of white marble had the role of protecting the sanctuary they guarded by being represented standing on their four legs, mouth open and body stretched out.

4.lion and Serpent Sculpture by Antoine-louis Barye

lion and Serpent Sculpture by Antoine louis Barye

This Lion statue 🦁 is among the most famous and imposing bronze statues around the world. It was made during the 19th century by the artist Antoine-Louis Barye using the lost wax method 🕯️. The Lion statue is represented in a very realistic and charismatic way.

Very imposing 🙄, it measures 135 centimeters high by 178 centimeters wide. We can see a Lion, open mouth, facing a Snake 🐍. Every detail is meticulously and perfectly done. This Lion statue emphasizes the animal’s monarchical trait 👑 as well as its courage and strength.

The Snake desires to fight 🥊 his opponent but the Lion cramps on his positions of offense. We see him with his sharp eye, snout turned up and right front paw tackling the reptile to the ground 🔥.

This statue symbolizes the celestial sanction of the seizure of power of King Philip 🤴 and the July Monarchy. It therefore has a divine connotation. King Philip became sovereign under the astral constellation of the Serpent and the Lion 🦁. Hence the representation of this statue. The general discontent with the regime put in place once his July 1830 revolution was over also inspired the artist 🧑🎨 in the making of his sculpture.

5. The Seated Lion by Antoine-louis Barye

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This imposing Lion statue 🦁 was made by the sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye in 1847. It is two meters high and 85 cm long. It is located in the Musée d’Orsay museum 🏛️, in the central sculpture aisle. The plaster statue was offered 🎁 to the French king Louis-Philippe who commissioned it from the artist in 1846.

Every detail of the sculpture has been meticulously well worked ⛏️ making it almost real. The Lion symbolizes power and strength. Therefore, many kings ⚜️ chose it as their symbol. Note that the darker the mane thus represented and has long and full hair, the more the good health of the animal is highlighted 👍.

6. Place De La République With Its Bronze Lion Statue (Paris)

Paris XI place République statue lion

It was the architect François-Charles Morice 👷 and the sculptor Léopold Morice who realized the famous monument. The bronze Lion statue represented and placed at the foot of the statue of the Republic, symbolizes the universal 🗳️ suffrage.

Paris place République statue lion

He is positioned on some steps, standing tall and proud 🇫🇷.

7. Dignified and Proud: the Lion of Amphipolis

lion of Amphipolis Statue

This five meter tall Lion 🦁 statue depicts a Lion standing on its forelegs with its mouth slightly ajar. In its natural state, the Lion does not usually adopt this position 🐾. The statue represented as such therefore has a meaning that is still unknown today 🤷. Its representation would surely be related to the companion of Alexander the Great, Laomedon, in the 3 rd century BC.

8. The Lion and the Eagle of Rotunda Da Boavista, Porto (Portugal)

8. The Lion and the Eagle of Rotunda Da Boavista Porto

The Lion 🦁 statue pictured is standing on an Eagle atop a 45 meter pedestal. It shows a Lion, determined, fighting and lively, tackling an Eagle 🦅 to the ground with its two front legs. The Lion symbolizes the victory 🏆 of Portuguese patriotism as well as the courage of the people of Porto. The Eagle, on the other hand, symbolizes the Empire of Napoleon ⚜️.

9. The Lion Monument in Lucerne (Switzerland)

The Lion statue 🦁 pays tribute to the many Swiss mercenaries who died fighting the revolutionaries 😵. It is represented in a very realistic way. It shows the weakened and dying animal. He serves a fleur-de-lis in the hollow of his bruised paw, marking his unconditional devotion to the French king Louis XI ⚜️, during their deaths in battle. A spear is also depicted, penetrating the flank 🩸 of the animal.

10. The Lions of the City of Oran (Algeria)

Oran lions statues Algeria

These Lions 🦁 are majestic, would have been carved for reasons etymologically related to the name of the city Wahrān وَهران‎ in arabic means two lions.

11. The Nelson Column Lions : a 122 Battles Memorial 

Nelson Column Lions

The Lion statue 🦁 thus depicted has very humanized expressions in the eyes, muzzle and mouth. It thus symbolizes courage, fight and determination 🎖️ during Nelson’s one hundred and twenty-two battles!

12. The Sculpture of the Four Asiatic Lions of Ashoka

Four Asiatic Lions of Ashoka

Among the best preserved old remains in the world 🌎 are the Ashoka pillars. In the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, several pillars can be seen each topped with different animals. Each pillar 🏛️ has a meaning.

The sculptures on top ⛰️ represent animals that are the immortal guardians of the laws of the great emperor Ashoka and the land territory. The pillar depicting four Lions 🦁 back to back is one of them. Mouths open, tongues out, these Lion statues have managed to remain intact during the passage of all these years ⛈️.

13. The Legend of the Four Lions Without Tongues of Budapest

Four Lions Without Tongues of Budapest

The historical events took place in Budapest, Hungary 🇭🇺. A Hungarian sculptor named János Marschalkõ committed suicide when he realized that the Lion statues he had sculpted had no tongue. So the common people took him at that time for a madman 🤪 and he didn’t bear these criticisms. After a deeper analysis and observation of these Hungarian statues, it turns out that they really each have one 👅 but these are very little seen.

14. The Lion Statue of Bordeaux 

blue lion statue of Bordeaux

This Lion 🦁 outdoor statue located on Stalingrad Square in Bordeaux, was created in 2005 by artist Xavier Veilhan. The Lion represented pays tribute to the victory 🏆 of the Soviet army during the Second World War. It is a very imposing statue that measures 6 m in height and 8 m in length. The Lion carved in this way has its right front paw resting on a rock. With his head raised, he proudly looks 👁️ towards the other side of the river.

Everyone can therefore interpret 🧠 the positioning and attitude of the animal in their own way. This statue gives free rein to the collective 💭 imagination.

15. Lion Sculptures in China

Indoor Lion statues, outdoor Lion statues 🏡, as decoration on a furniture or in the garden, these statues are very common in China 🐼. In fact, they are given several names such as Chinese Guardian Lions, China Lions, or Fu Dogs. Placing two Chinese Lions statues 🦁 at the entrance of a restaurant, business, hotel or residence will keep away any malicious individuals or evil spirits 🙏.

It is important to place two Chinese Guardian Lions statues on either side of the entrance 🚪 of the place you wish to protect (not just one.) The two go hand in hand. On one side the male holding an embroidered ball under his right paw and placed on the right. On the other side the female. She is the symbol of the power of life and holds under a protective paw 🐾 a small immobile lion cub. The male represents the Yang ☯️ and guards the building. The female represents Yin and refers to a symbol of guardianship over those inside the building. Both keep negative energy away from the building ⛩️.

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16. The Peugeot Monumental Lion Sculpture

The monumental Lion of Peugeot 🚘 symbolizes the strength, excellence and pride of the brand. It is a 5m high and 12.5m long statue. It was created by designers at the Peugeot Design Lab 🇫🇷 to showcase the brand. It is the imposing dimensions of the sculpture that accentuate the powerful, solid and unchanging character of the feline 🦁.

It was also depicted standing, moving forward without aggression but with determination 🎖️. This therefore symbolizes a pledge of confidence and serenity in the future. So Leo has a strong and metaphorical representation here. It is the character and build of the Lion that helps to enhance 🌟 the company’s know-how and creativity. Again, the Lion has a charismatic, caring, patient, determined, courageous and strong image at the same time 👊 !

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