Urartian Lion Figure: The Travelling Motif in the Ancient Near East

Document Type : Original Research Article


Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Inscriptions and Texts Research Center of RICHT. Iran


Urartians ruled over the shores of Lake Urmia in Iran, Lake Van in Turkey and Sevan Lake in Armenia between 9th and 6th centuries B.C. and they had left a large number of metal artifacts. Urartians illustrated different human, animal, plant and mythical motifs on their metal objects. But lion was more common among those motifs. Urartian lion was depicted with open jaw, wrinkled face, small ears and short mane. The author suggests to study each figure separately in comparison with other cultures therefore it seems that the Urartian lions are similar to Assyrian, Hittite, Achaemenid and Etruscan lions. This Urartian motif could have been affected by the immigration, travel, savory or employing of the artists or workers from Assyrian or Hittite regions to Urartu. Urartian artists could have affected the other regions with the same reasons. A few scholars have been interested on this motif in comparison with pre and post Urartian culture. It is the aim of the author to field and library research the Urartian lion motif along with its comparison with Assyrian, Hittite, Achaemenid and Etruscan lions to trace the possible effects. 


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