Tag Archives: wall

Winged Lion: How It Got from Assyria to Your Wall

Winged Lion is an artistic shot of a winged lion carved into the head rail of a Victorian server cabinet. The Victorian period between 1837-1901 was a period of change in the art of decorative furniture.

The manufacturing process of pieces changed from selective pieces hand-made for each client to a mass-produced factory one. For the first time, close copies of the same furniture the aristocrats had could be obtained by the common folk.

Thus enters our winged lion.   The winged lion is a mythological creature sometimes called the Lammasu. The Lammasu is a fantastic beast from the days of the ancient Assyrians Empire. When the 2nd Babylonian empire under Nebuchadnezzar II ruled the Middle East, they used it as a motif for the Sun God. Later, the conquered and displaced Jewish populace borrowed the winged lions as a prophetic animal in the prophesies of Daniel (Daniel 7:4) as a reference to Babylon itself.

Following the belief of the divine power behind the winged lion is it any wonder that the Christians followed suite by having it refer to St. Mark and even to Christ.

It is at this point that we go from the religious context Winged Lionto a more semi-divine arena. Since the city-state of Venice viewed St. Mark as it’s patron saint, it only made logical sense the motif of the winged lion would make it’s way into the heraldry and identity of the Venetian Empire itself.   After all what royal didn’t want their family to be seen as having God on their side. It is here that the brand of the image of the winged lion takes off.

This branding, much like an ancient form of a corporate logo, of the lion as a powerful, noble and ferocious beast was not lost on the rest of European royalty and plain ornamented lions show up all over Europe. The stylized lion especially became popular in the heraldry of England.

We soon arrive at the Victorian period named after Queen Victoria, one of the longest living monarchs of the British Empire. The Victorian period was a climate of scientific, artistic and cultural change in England.   With the love of the Gothic styles and dark ornate carvings making their appearance in building styles and especially in furniture. It’s only natural that the winged lion became popular again.

Only this time, the image refers the power of money and influence. Our winged lion motif loses its religious significance and becomes more used in its portrayal of economic and social power. The ability to make factory made furniture allowed the masses access to this powerful motif and it soon appeared on everything from tables to foyer pieces and servers.

Even now the meaning of this motif is in a constant state of change. Outside of the antique furniture business, the winged lion is synonymous with the artistic decorations of a gargoyle or griffin. It’s seen as a decoration more than a reference to power and elegance. Still, it makes for a great piece of art. Especially hanging on your wall.

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View A Stone Wall of Silent Warning

I am a wall of Silent Warning.  My name is Pakil Yol and I became part of this stone wall centuries ago.  I’ve seen the rise of empires and the fall of many men who would be kings.  I’ve witnessed man’s brutality and his capacity for devotion to the gods.

I was there as the ugly bearded invaders sent by the great-feathered serpent-god Kukulkan arrived on our shores and pillaged our nations for their material lusts of gold and land.  The destruction brought by these bearded ones almost destroyed my tribe with war, plague and forced conversions.

Silent Warnings
O my people, where have you gone?

Not that these things were not familiar to us.  We Maya were experts of war and  used our enemies subjugation for slaves or the rare sacrifice when the gods became angry as the need arose.

But, nothing though could ever prepare us for the coming onslaught and the relentless forced abandonment of our most holy gods all in the name of the impaled god of the bearded invaders.

I, however, continued to fulfill the purpose that the shamans of ancient days had created me for.  I advised our shamans and our priests of our proper celestial lords disposition and how best to get their fleeting favor.  I would warn of a god’s displeasure, and the proper sacrifice to restore the balance.  Indeed I was given the power of prophecy for feast or famine.

In order to conjure my responses the priests or shamans merely had to say my name.  But alas, I have not heard a priest of the old ways for many centuries now.    Instead, I sit in the jungle slowly being weathered into the nothingness from which I came.  No one comes for my prophecy any longer.  No one is here to hear my cries of the displeasure of the old gods.  Now I just stay with my Silent Warning.

Like what you read about Silent Warning?

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