Lion Sculpture Fetches Record Price at Auction

3¼-inch Guennol Lioness goes for $57M, nearly double last mark

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 6, 2007 1:23 PM CST

(Newser) – 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.

The Guennol Lioness is photographed Friday, Nov. 30, 2007 at Sothebys in New York.  The 5,000 year old sculpture from the region of ancient Mesopotamia is on display to the public before being  auctioned on Dec. 5, 2007. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
The Guennol Lioness is photographed Friday, Nov. 30, 2007 at Sothebys in New York. The 5,000 year old sculpture from the region of ancient Mesopotamia is on display to the public before being auctioned...   (Associated Press)
The limestone carving was sold at auction by Sotheby's for $57 million, almost doubling the previous record price for a sculpture.
The limestone carving was sold at auction by Sotheby's for $57 million, almost doubling the previous record price for a sculpture.   (Shutterstock.com)
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