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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Diadem Band Fragment with Walking Lion and Rosette
Other Titles
Former Title: Plaque with Walking Lion and Rosette
Work Type
mid 7th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Orientalizing period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

4 x 7 cm (1 9/16 x 2 3/4 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin
Other Elements: lead, iron, antimony, arsenic
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The surface of the plaque is a smooth and shiny, dark brownish black, and it is well preserved. There are a few small corrosion pustules and some visible dendritic structures on the front. The back is also well preserved but is still covered with some tan burial accretions. The side edges are jagged from the breaks, and some small losses have occurred on the top edge as well. A crack down the middle of the piece was repaired with fiberglass and perhaps resin, and there is a small rectangular piece of copper sheet on the bottom of the repair. Remains of a red paint have built up along a portion of the edges of the back.

This object is a fragment of a longer strip of metal that was formed from a very thin, hammered sheet of bronze. The fine sequential tool marks of a chisel or graver that was used to define the lines of the lion can be seen in a few places. The row of evenly spaced raised dots along the top and bottom of the strip was created using a pointed punch from the back. The distortion of the metal caused by the tooling—on both the front and the back of the plaque—is typical of repoussé work.

Francesca G. Bewer (submitted 2012)


Recorded Ownership History
Leo Mildenberg, Zurich, Switzerland, (before 1981). [Christie's (London), A Peaceable Kingdom: The Leo Mildenberg Collection of Ancient Animals, Oct. 26, 2004, lot 8, sold]; to Arielle and Jerry Brodkey, gift; to the Harvard University Art Museums, 2004.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Arielle and Jerry Brodkey (Class of 1955) in memory of Leo Mildenberg
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
A row of repoussé dots borders this fragmentary strip on the top and bottom; the left and right edges are breaks. On one side, a lion is shown in profile, walking right and facing a large rosette. The lion holds his head up; his mouth is open, exposing a row of teeth at the top and bottom and a small tongue. His tail curls up behind him. One leaf-shaped ear is visible, as is a circular eye with a tear duct. The lion’s wavy mane is depicted in locks on his head, in front of his ear, and on his neck. All four limbs are visible, with toes and some musculature depicted, walking upon the lower border of raised dots as though it were a ground line. A row of small diagonal lines follows the contours of the lion from the tip of his tail to the top of his head; a second line stretches from his chin to the top of his right front paw. The rosette is made up of alternating piriform and pointed petals around a central double circle; both types of petals have a double outline. Five of the presumed eight original petals are preserved. The pointed petals are filled with a herringbone pattern. There are small, inscribed circles in the field between the petals. The impression of the more deeply incised lines, such as the body of the lion and the outline of the rosette, are visible on the back, which is otherwise featureless.

More complete examples of strips with similar decoration are thought to be diadems (1). Some of the bands are decorated by large, separately fabricated metal rosettes.


1. See Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, inv. nos. Misc. 8145,1-4 (from Thebes); and A. de Ridder, Catalogue des bronzes antique, Museé du Louvre (Paris, 1913) 63-64, nos. 1861-66 (from Dodona and Corinth), pl. 89.

Lisa M. Anderson

Publication History

  • Arielle P. Kozloff, Animals in Ancient Art from the Leo Mildenberg Collection, Cleveland Museum of Art/Indiana University Press (1981), p. 107, no. 88.
  • Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2004-2005 (Cambridge, MA, 2005), p. 13.

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

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