Funerary Bier Legs

1973.1.688
A pair of lion-headed legs from 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. Formerly in the collection of William Frankland Hood. Purchased at Sotheby's 11 November 1924 lot 152. Part of the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum gift of 1971 (ex accession no. 30985).