Incorrect Username, Email, or Password
This object does not yet have a description.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Lion's Foot
Work Type
3rd-2nd century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Etruria
Hellenistic period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Leaded bronze
Cast, lost-wax process
2.3 x 2 x 2 cm (7/8 x 13/16 x 13/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Leaded Bronze:
Cu, 76.11; Sn, 4.67; Pb, 18.65; Zn, 0.005; Fe, less than 0.01; Ni, 0.06; Ag, 0.09; Sb, 0.16; As, 0.21; Bi, 0.03; Co, 0.02; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001

J. Riederer

Technical Observations: The patina is a slightly pitted green over brownish black. The foot is intact. This foot has fragments of sheet metal that belong to the vessel to which it was once attached. The foot is solid cast, probably by lost-wax casting, with some rough finishing after casting. It was once attached to sheet metal with lead solder, which was confirmed by microchemical testing.

Carol Snow (submitted 2002)


Recorded Ownership History
Dr. Harris Kennedy, Milton, MA (by 1932), gift; to the William Hayes Fogg Art Museum, 1932.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Dr. Harris Kennedy, Class of 1894
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.


Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
These well-modeled but fairly worn leonine paws were probably attached to the base of a cista (a small container or box). Bronze feet of this type were mass-produced in antiquity; thus, although 1932.56.4.A and 1932.56.4.B differ slightly, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that they came from the same vessel. Part of the vessel to which 1932.56.4.A was attached still adheres to this foot. Where it was wrenched (or corroded) away from its vessel, there remain two thin sheets of metal, indicating the point of attachment.

The claws are retracted, while other types of this fixture have articulated and “sprung” claws. Both types of claws are seen on Etruscan bronze pieces, specifically those with utilitarian purposes, such as incense burners or lamps where the feet form part of the base. On the latter, the foot is generally placed atop a bronze disc, plinth, or square, perhaps to stabilize the lamp. The absence of this additional piece suggests that these feet were probably part of a cista. This is substantiated by their small size, as well as the absence of an “ankle” that curves up from the foot to form part of the supporting base, which is a standard feature of these decorative feet on larger vessels.


1. Compare the leonine paws as seen in F. Jurgeit, Die etruskischen und italischen Bronzen sowie Gegenstände aus Eisen, Blei, und Leder im Badischen Landesmuseum Karlsruhe, Terra Italia 5 (Pisa, 1999) 513, no. 885, pl. 255; and S. Haynes, Etruscan Bronzes (London, 1985) 155-56 and 178, nos. 53-54, and 93.

Aimée F. Scorziello

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at