Table leg in the form of a lion

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Spectacular trapezoforo, a table leg in the form of a lion’s leg that terminates at the top in a lion’s head. The quality of the modeling of the head of the animal is really notable, giving the lion a ferocious and aggressive countenance. The head has been sculpted in fine detail with an open mouth and clear differentiation of the strands of the mane. The fragment of the foot, in the form of the lion’s paw, is missing. The back of the head and the back of the remaining part of the leg have smooth surfaces without decoration. The joining of the head and the leg has been carried out with imagination: the leg is topped with acanthus leaves from which emerges the lion’s head.

This is a domestic decorative piece that originally formed part of a table. In wealthy private Roman residences different types of tables could be found in the dining room, other rooms and other areas of the villa. Most of them were fashioned in bronze, but many today are lost as it was a light material that could be moved around with ease. On certain occasions there were special tables made from stone for the sanctuary of house and these were tables for ritual use for sacrifices and libations. Given the size of this piece it seems clear that it was a leg on a table for ritual use or if not this, a table of considerable size in a Roman villa whose owners were of high social standing.

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