A Pair of Early 20thC Faux Antico Rosso Painted Recumbent Stone Garden Lions

Origin: Italian
Period: Early 20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1920-30
Height: 14”
Width: 10.5”
Depth: 21”

The stylised composition stone lions, recumbent on rectangular bases with rams heads beneath, in old faux antico rosso paint and surviving from the first quarter of twentieth century continental Europe.

The lions are in good overall order with commensurate weathering to the paint, showing small areas of loss; one being a plinth corner lacking. The lions were more than likely painted at least fifty years ago but wouldn’t have been painted at the time they were made.

Probably first deriving first from China, stone lions traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy, from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), and were believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits. Pairs of lions are still common decorative and symbolic elements at the entrances to restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and other structures, with one sitting on each side of the entrance, in China and in other places around the world. These examples are the Italian equivalent.

The lion was a symbol of kings and the ram was a symbol of fertility and the land. Lions and rams were both important animals in Egyptian and Persian belief systems. This is seen as somewhat Christianity bridging the historic connection to ancient Egyptian culture and religion.

Very decorative examples owing to their beautiful paint and mythological grandeur.