Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cats in Art: Head of a Lion (unknown Indian Artist)

[Gary note: using my iPad for this post, as Blogger software and my PC still seem not to be playing nice.  Hope it comes across OK]

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I am using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.  This particular piece of art featured today was one the bride and I personally viewed and photographed at the Freer Gallery of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.  We were there with our niece a few weeks back attending the Library of Congress' National Book Festival, held on the Mall.


Image credit Gary, carved limestone from a gateway pillar at the Amaravati Stupa, state of Andhra Pradesh, India, unknown artist, 2nd century CE,  held by the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

In this life-size sculpture of the head of a female lion, I love how the artist managed to capture what the explanatory panel calls the "noble strength" of the lion.  For me, the word grace comes to mind...again.  As I review some of my Cats in Art posts, I seem particularly partial to the word "grace," but upon further reflection that word is such a natural fit.  It perfectly conjures up the blend of strength, power, and agility that is the cat.

Seeing this sculpture up close--I could have touched it if I wished--was a wonderful experience.  I can well image the stone carver from 2000 years ago lovingly crafting this kitty.

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