Ancient Art

Lion Relief from the Processional Way

ca. 605–562 B.C.

Glazed brick

101.8 × 207.5 cm (40 1/16 × 81 11/16 in.)
Yale University Art Gallery
This brightly colored relief—along with 120 similar lions and other animals, real and fantastic—once lined the Processional Way running from the Ishtar Gate, Babylon’s main entrance, through the heart of the city. Lions were a common subject in the art of the ancient Near East and were associated in particular with royalty. In this case, the lions were probably envisioned as protectors of the royal house and of the city.
On view

Babylon, processional way; excavated by Robert Koldewey; purchased by the University from the Pergamon Museum.


Raymond P. Dougherty, “The Lion of Ishtar,” Bulletin of the Associates in Fine Arts at Yale University 4, no. 3 (1932): 144–47, ill.

Associates in Fine Arts, Yale University, “Handbook: A Description of the Gallery of Fine Arts and the Collections,” Bulletin of the Associates in Fine Arts at Yale University 5, nos. 1–3 (1931): 7, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.