Mesopotamian Rock Crystal Statuette of a Leopard

Near Eastern · Proto-sumerian, ca. 3000 B.C.



L: 5.3 cm

H: 1.81 cm





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This exquisite little statuette is carved in the shape of a reclining leopard with a spotted hide. The superb rendering of the animal’s anatomical details, the hind thighs, the paws, the muzzle, eyes and ears, and the holes, which are lightly and very precisely drilled, and may have been inlaid with semi-precious stones, creating a decadent polychrome effect, which would have added to the already luxurious nature of this piece. This statuette is a masterpiece of the ancient gem-carver’s craft, and is the only Proto-Sumerian rock crystal depiction of a leopard known.


Art market, prior to 1982;

Ex-Elie Boustros, 1948-1982, Beirut, Lebanon.


GEHRIG U, Tiebilder aus vier Jahrtausenden, Antiken der Sammlung Mildenberg, Mainz am Rhein, 1983, p. 16, n° 2

ZAHLHASS G. , Aus Noah Arche, Tierbild der Sammlung Mildenberg aus fünf Jahrtausenden, Mainz am Rhein, 1996.

Museum Parallels

The Oriental Institute

Chicago, Illinois, United States

The British Museum

London, United Kingdom

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York, New York, United States