Throne Leg with an Elephant-Headed Lion (Gajasimha Vyala)

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Odisha, India, Asia

Medieval Period

c. Mid- 13th century


13 3/8 inches (34 cm) Circumference: 16 1/4 inches (41.3 cm) Base: 5 3/8 × 5 5/8 × 5 inches (13.7 × 14.3 × 12.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. John B. Stetson, Jr., 1960

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Ivory carving brought intricacy to the art of Indian sculpture. This composition of an elephant-headed lion seizing a pot-bellied demon in his trunk is animated by an abundance of stylized detail: the curled locks of his grooved mane, repeated on his thighs and legs; his beaded chains with pendants or bells; the bristling hair of the upside-down demon and his dagger and shield; and the trees, boars, antelope, ram, and mounted rider hidden in the dense, craggy landscape. Mountain, beast, and demon constitute one tightly carved volume, its slight forward tilt dictated by the natural curve of the elephant tusk from which it was carved. The hollows between head and chest and tail and back were calculated to give a clear profile to the composite figure of a lion, a royal symbol, which once formed one leg of an ivory throne. Stella Kramrisch, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 52.