Lion of Al-lāt

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Lion of Al-lāt
Lion in the garden of Palmyra Archeological Museum, 2010-04-21.jpg
The state of the "Lion of Al-lāt", photographed in the year 2010.
Coordinates34°33′15″N 38°16′00″E / 34.5542°N 38.2667°E / 34.5542; 38.2667Coordinates: 34°33′15″N 38°16′00″E / 34.5542°N 38.2667°E / 34.5542; 38.2667
LocationTemple of Al-Lat, Palmyra, Syria
Height3.5 m (11 ft)

The Lion of Al-lāt (Arabic أسد اللات) is an old statue. It is a decoration of the Temple of Al-Lat in Palmyra, Syria. On 27 June 2015, it was badly damaged by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The damage took place after the ISIL had captured Palmyra.[1] The statue was kept at the National Museum of Damascus for repairing. Presently, it is standing again.[2]

Description[change | change source]

The statue of the lion is shown as holding a gazelle. It was made from limestone ashlars in the early first century A.D. It measured 3.5 m (11 ft) in height.[3] It weights 15 tonnes.[1] The lion was regarded as the husband of goddess Al-lāt.[3] The gazelle depicts Al-lāt's tender and loving traits. Bloodshed was not allowed under punishment of Al-lāt's revenge.[4] The lion's left paw had a partially damaged Palmyrene inscription. The inscription (PAT 1122) reads like this: tbrk ʾ[lt] (Al-lāt will bless) mn dy lʾyšd (whoever will not shed) dm ʿl ḥgbʾ (blood in the sanctuary).[5]

History[change | change source]

The statue before 2005 restoration.

In 1977, the statue was discovered by some Polish archeologists from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw (PCMA UW). They were working under Prof. Michał Gawlikowski.[6][7] The PCMA UW logo design was based on the lion of Al-lāt.[8] The statue was found in pieces. It had been reused in old times for the temple's foundation.[6] Later, the pieces were collected in front of the gate of the Palmyra Museum. The work was done by restorer Józef Gazy. In 2005, it was restored to prevent problems from collection.[6] Finally, the piece was restored. It was made like its original looks – a relief art jumping out from a wall.[6] During the Syrian Civil War, the statue was covered with a metal plate and sandbags. It is to protect the statue from destruction.[1]

On 27 June 2015, it was badly damaged by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It was after they had captured Palmyra.[1] After the freedom of Palmyra by the Syrian army, Maamoun Abdulkarim announced that the pieces were still in place. Further, he said that it was possible to put them back together. He was giving hopes for reconstruction.[9] The statue was moved to Damascus in 2016. There, it was completely restored.[10] On 1 October 2017, it was fully restored. Presently, it is placed in the National Museum of Damascus. This is for its safety. Later, it will be moved to Palmyra again.[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Isis militants destroy 2,000-year-old statue of lion at Palmyra". The Guardian. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Restoration works of Palmyra's famous ancient statue of Lion of Allat completed – Syrian Arab News Agency". October 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kevin Butcher (2003). Roman Syria and the Near East. Getty Publications. p. 309. ISBN 0892367156.
  4. Theodorus Petrus van Baaren (1982). Commemorative Figures. Brill Archive. p. 70. ISBN 9004067795.
  5. Van Baaren (1982), p. 65 and Reinhard G. Lehmann: “Kein Blutvergießen!” Die Löweninschrift der ʾAllāt von Palmyra, in: ḤBL Tadmor. Studies in Palmyrene Script and Language. KUSATU 23 (2018), pp. 3-8.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Trochimowicz, Aleksandra; Markowski, Bartosz (2004). "The Lion of Allat in Palmyra New Museum Display Project" (PDF). Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology University of Warsaw. Retrieved 24 September 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. "Palmyra". Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  8. "The Lion of Palmyra is PCMA new logo". Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  9. "Palmira prima e dopo l'ISIS". Il Post (in Italian). 28 March 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  10. "تمثال أسد اللات.. من تدمر إلى المتحف الوطني في دمشق استعداداً لترميمه (In Arabic)". Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2017.