Khmer Pair of Sandstone Guardian Lion Sculptures, Bayon style, Angkor Period. The fierce lions are both poised on a rectangular block with well-defined paws, half-sitting with a ridge line down center of back, ferocious expression with mouth open and well-delineated teeth, framed by arching mane, well-carved necklace and anklets. Figures such as these would have flanked staircases, doors, and causeways welcoming and protecting the visitor to the temple complex.
Weathering, abrasions, losses, overall fine condition.
Left Lion: 45-1/2 inches high x 26-3/4 inches deep x 18 inches wide.
Right Lion: 44-1/2 inches high x 23 inches deep x 18 inches wide.
Angkor Period. Late 12th Century.
Sold as a pair.
For another smaller example of a Guardian Lion see:
Pratapaditya Pal, The Sensuous Immortals: A Selection from the Pan-Asian Collection, LACMA 1978, fig: 144, p.238 with the following cataloguing commentary:
“Squatting lions such as this, invariably rendered as freestanding sculptures, are a familiar sight in most Khmer temples, generally placed as guardians on terraces and stairways. Although the concept originated in India, the lions are far more conspicuous in Cambodian temples. Since lions are not native to the region and hence unfamiliar to the artists, they are always treated conceptually and often the grinning or growling faces are somewhat caricatured. The present example may have come from the Phimeanakas temple terrace, although it is difficult to be certain. The fanciful head is more demonic that naturalistic and the mane on the broad chest is rendered almost like a coat of mail. The posture is essentially heraldic and the sculptor seems to have been concerned primarily with expressing physical strength through sheer volume.”