About this object

A pair of lion-headed legs from a bed or a funerary bier. Carved from wood and covered with gesso and then painted.

These finely carved and painted bed legs are fashioned in the form of a lion. The lion is standing on platforms under which is cut a unique stepped tenon. This would have been either located in a mortise of a cross-member which would have connected the front legs of the bed or they would have been set into a large metal drum. Behind the lion’s head is a large slot which would have accommodated the bed’s side rail. On the side of each head is a smaller mortise on which the tenon of the top stretcher is still present. The head of each lion wears painted red and its breast white. Black outline paint has been carefully applied to the face of the lion to give it detail and a pattern drawn onto the body.

Acquired at Sotheby's 11 November 1924

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Ptolemaic; Roman Period
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date made
    332 BC - 395 AD
  • Materials
    Paint; Wood; Plaster
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of the Trustees of the Wellcome Collection
  • Collector
    Henry S Wellcome
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date collected
    1924 before
  • Measurements
    395 mm x 90 mm
  • Related people
    Sotheby's (Previous owner); Wellcome Historical Medical Museum (Previous owner); Henry Solomon Wellcome (Collector)


Previous owners

  • Wellcome Historical Medical Museum

    Owned from: 1924-11-11
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1971
    Disposal method: Donation
  • Sotheby's

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1924-11-11
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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