During wars and armed conflicts to the tragic situation that people live in the continuous presence of death and devastation, there is a loss of material and even cultural goods with very serious historical consequences. In this sense, the two great world wars meant the disappearance of thousands of works of art, some of which have not been seen since; on other occasions, many pieces were safeguarded until the end of the conflict in order to prevent them from being looted or even, worse, destroyed.
The work that we are analyzing here today and which is known as The Lion Man, is a small free-standing sculpture that was discovered precisely at the beginning of the Second World War in the vicinity of the Hohlenstein-Stadel cave located in Baden-Württemberg in Germany. The precarious political situation in which the country found itself made its discoverers, the archaeologists Robert Wetzel and Otto Völzing, decide to keep the piece anonymous without even being able to study it. Thus, the small zoomorphic statue spent almost thirty years sunk in oblivion in a warehouse until in 1997 Joachim Hahn found it in the collections of a Berlin museum and decided to put it in the hands of the experts Ute Wolf and Elisabeth Schmidt, to take out a restore of it.
It was then that it was possible to rule with certainty that the small half-human half-lion figure would belong to the Aurignacian era inthe Upper Paleolithic, thus dating it to between 40,000 and 32,000 years old. It is a piece of great historical and artistic value whose restoration was not complete until 2012 when the last pieces that made up the work were found.
According to the explanations of the experts, the piece represents a human figure in the body while the head is in the shape of a lion. This dualism is typical of the Paleolithic era so that the work would be related to other pieces such as the Venus or even with zoomorphic paintings from French caves, despite being from a different era. The work represents a human body with the legs slightly apart and one more advanced than the other, the firm and straight arms in one of them you can see a set of horizontal slits arranged one on top of the other they seem to have a decorative purpose but also surely a symbolic one.
Some experts debate about the representation of the body belongs to a male or female figure and although at first it was thought that it should be a male body, the latest findings and research by experts suggest that it could be a female figure due to some incisions in the torso as breasts and a triangle in the pubic area.