Gravestone from Asia Minor
The lions sit in an arched niche, their front paws resting on bulls’ heads. Next to the female lion, there is a mirror and a comb; beside the male, a pruning knife and grapes – the symbols of Aphrodite and Dionysos. According to the inscription, which is written in Greek, the lingua franca of the region, the tombstone was set up by four sons in memory of their parents. The lions thus here stand for the deceased couple. A closed door on the now missing lower part of the stele was a reference to the tomb: the way is shut.
The style of the relief does not follow Greek tradition. The lions’ small body, seen from the side, is dwarfed by their large frontal heads. The egg pattern and the palmettes are also stylised. The marble was quarried in the region of the river Porsuk (Tembris). The tombstone is a typical work of art for this Phrygian region.
Marble analyses conducted by Danielle Decrouez (Geneva, Museum of Natural History) and Karl Ramseyer (University of Bern, Institute of Geological Sciences) have shown that the relief was made of Afyion or Altintas marble. Click here for the detailed results.