A limestone sculpture of a lioness standing at only 3¼ inches sold at auction in New York yesterday for $57 million, smashing the record price for a sculpture, the BBC reports. The Guennol Lioness, believed to have been carved 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq and Iran), topped the $29 million fetched by Pablo Picasso's "Tête de Femme" last month.
The sculpture embodies a "brilliant combination of animal form and human pose," a Sotheby’s auctioneer said. "It's a phenomenal piece,'' a New York art dealer tells Bloomberg. "It has tremendous power.'' The previous owner—steel heir Alastair Bradley Martin—loaned the piece to the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1948; proceeds from the sale will go to a charitable trust.