Sculpturally, the image of a lion is one that represents an unusual crossover between secular and religious iconography and one that can be seen in the architectural schemes of a church or castle without necessarily serving a religious function. In the context of a north European mediaeval church, lions could be seen adorning or protecting a doorway or even at the foot of an effigy (Cologne, 1978 and Budde, op. cit, no. 20, respectively) - the function, in the latter case, being a symbolic aid to resurrection. With the present lot, however, one can see how such a pair might have been part of an architectural scheme in a secular building. It is possible that their raised paws could originally have rested on a pair of shields with coats of arms and thus placed outside the doorway of a castle would be a symbol of one's power and authority.
Stylistically, the carving of the mane represents a mixture of tightly packed curls and longer segmented locks, which are partly Romanesque and partly late Gothic in style - a characteristic also seen on a bronze fountain mask from Nürenberg dated to circa 1400 (Cologne, loc. cit). The faces of the lions are also of interest, since they appear to have been modelled from a human face and adapted to that of a beast with the addition of the muzzle, mane and fanged teeth. This charming humanisation is likely to be the attribute of a provincial artist who had never seen a real lion upon which to base his study.