Lion ornament
  See it in the Museum
Reception desk
Orientation 2
Wall object 7

ABS 320

 Code: ABS 320

  Country: Nepal


  Date: 1300 - 1400

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 23 x 21

  Materials: Gilt copper repoussé

Lion ornament

This four-lobbed gilt copper ornament represents a stylised lion wearing a pendant on a chain and a jewel on its head.

In Indian culture, lion is considered a symbol of royalty. In Buddhism, lions are a symbol of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni who is called “the lion of the Shakyas.” Similarly, the bodhisattvas are described as “lions among men.” In the iconography, lions often appear supporting precious thrones (ABP 003, 005...). They also often serve as mounts for deities, for instance Vaishravana God of wealth (ABP 031), or for some manifestations of Avalokiteshvara and Mañjushri (ABS 360). They are also found on various ornaments, sometimes in pairs, guarding the entrances of monasteries and shrines or tombs.

In Tibet, the lion becomes a snow lion, a mythical white fur creature with a turquoise or an orange mane, living on the snowy summits. They are depicted bearing a wrathful expression with eyes and mouth wide open. Freely they roam in the high snowy mountains, symbolising the wisdom, fearlessness and sacred dignity of those dharma practitioners who live in the pure mind, free of any delusions.