In Ancient Greece, about 20 miles southwest of Corinth, a fearsome monster—the Nemean Lion—prowled the village of Nemea, killing and eating the villagers. King Eurystheus ordered his cousin, Heracles, to combat and kill the Nemean Lion—the first assignment of The Twelve Labors of Heracles. (The Greek name, Heracles, is often translated to its Roman version, Hercules.)
Heracles attempted to kill the Nemean Lion with his bow and arrows. But the lion was endowed with a Golden Fleece, impervious to weaponry. The arrows simply bounced-off his sides. So Heracles needed a different approach. He took a club and entered a cave with two entrances. One entrance he blocked-off. Through the other entrance, he lured the powerful lion. He clubbed the lion, stunning it, and strangled the lion with his bare hands around the creatures neck. After killing the lion, he wore its fleece as a mantle—which protected him from weapons of battle.
The porcelain sculpture, shown above, was made in Germany in the 19th Century and is marked Hochst. Hochst was founded in the mid 1700's, though the company has been bought and sold several times in its history—and the moulds were used and reused by each successive owner. But the sculptural design is excellent and the quality of the work is very good. More interestingly, the storyline of Hercules and the Nemean Lion would have appealed to the educated of the 18th and 19th Centuries—and a piece like this would have indicated the cultural sophistication of its owner. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248