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A GERMAN CARVED IVORY GROUP OF HERCULES AND A NEMEAN LION
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A GERMAN CARVED IVORY GROUP OF HERCULES AND A NEMEAN LION

17TH CENTURY

Details
A GERMAN CARVED IVORY GROUP OF HERCULES AND A NEMEAN LION
17TH CENTURY
Later ebonised plinth
The ivory -- 6¾ in. (17.2 cm.) high
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
Sale Room Notice
Please note that this lot may require a CITES licence in order to be exported outside of the EU.

Lot Essay

Since antiquity, the image of Hercules embodied the virtues of courage and strength, and as a prominent classical figure he was worshipped as the protector of people and guardian of cities. Thus, in the same way that Hercules achieved immortality through his wondrous deeds, so did the myths become immortalized - the most famous series of them being 'The Twelve Labours'. One of the most popular labours relates to an iconographical cannon established in the old Babylonian poem Gilgamesh where the hero wrestles a lion in an epic battle between good and evil, just as Hercules does in his Labour. This image was so potent that it was later recycled by Christian storytellers who replaced the mythological heroes with Samson and David. Hercules here is depicted naked, standing astride and forcing open the jaws of the creature. In the subsequent Labours, Hercules is therefore depicted wearing the lion's skin as a symbol of his fortitude.

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