Symbolism of the lion head





An ancient symbol of the sun, dominion, power, ferocity and bravery, the "king of the beasts" was often used on heraldic shields, flags or banners by medieval European rulers. In Tarot cards, an occult system of divination based on the Kabala, it symbolized strength or power. In ancient mythology it was identified with sun worship and the imagined power of both gods and goddesses. The lion head ringed by its golden mane would used in ancient mystery initiations and ritualistic sun worship.

While pagan nations used it to represent their mythical views of reality, the lion was created by God. In the Bible, we see how He used it for His purposes.





One of the most common animal themes found in decorative jewellery and accessories and sculptures is the Lion Head.


The history of using a depiction of a lions head in decorating goes back as far back as early Greece and ancient Egypt. Throughout history, a carved representation of a lions head has been used on furniture, as statues, as decorative accents, and in architecture.


The lion has symbolised many things in history. In ancient Egypt, the lion was always associated with water. Fountains and water spouts prominently featured lions, especially those found in classic temples or public gathering spots. Shipping yards and boats often had lion head symbols.


As the king of beasts a lion was meant to convey strength, courage, and power in early Rome. In the days of Caesar, it was common for military and political leaders to have a lions head on the front door as a door knocker. It also came to symbolize the fallen hero and was often used in cemeteries and on caskets. The statue of a lion was often used as the guardian of gates, temples, and buildings.


In Medieval times, the Lion began to represent Christianity and royalty. Countless kings, counts, and dukes began to display the lion on their official heralds, flags, and shields. The lion became the royal symbol of Scotland as early as 1222. Throughout Europe, the lion appeared in homes as a display of their belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. One of the most famous uses of a lion symbol was the shield carried by King Richard I of England (Richard the Lionhearted) during the Crusades.



Lion, late 1400s Italy, Cafaggiolo, 15th century,

Victorian Renaissance Lion Lamp Shade - Images via Pinterest







Photographer Tim Walker and stylist Katie Grand have collaborated for the 5th anniversary of Love Magazine with an extraordinary shoot dedicated to Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda.

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French vintage brass and enamel clamper bangle with image depicting lions c. 1930's



Vintage Lion Head Clip-Ons



Maudie James, Ethiopian Airlines - VOGUE UK 1969



Vintage Sterling Silver Lion Image Necklace