The Greek island of Delos, in the Aegean Sea, offers one of the most valued archaeological sites in the Cyclades archipelago, to which it belongs. In fact, the entire Delos site is considered World Heritage by UNESCO. To get an idea of its value, you have to think that in a country like Grecia, where archaeological remains abound in any corner of its surface, the Delos site is considered one of the four most important in the Hellenic country and an entire National Museum.
Terrace of the Lions
And you have to know that in ancient times, Delos was a sacred island, the birthplace Apollo and also his sister Artemis, according to classical mythology, and therefore it was one of the most outstanding spiritual centers of that civilization. Hence, this site has temples, sanctuaries, a theater, houses, a port, various monuments, …
Among this whole set, due to its exceptional nature, it is worth stopping at the so-called Terraza de los Leones. A place that would be located next to the sacred lake that was in Delos and that is currently dry. This avenue of the Lions is also different from what it would be like originally back in the 7th century before Christ, when here there would be 16 lions (more like lionesses) of enormous proportions and carved in marble fromthe nearby islands of Naxos or Paros.
However at present, there are only more or less whole 5 of them left, in addition to other partial fragments. And all of this is kept protected inside the museum, while identical replicas were placed outside for security reasons. Since the truth is that those who disappeared was not only due to the passage of time, but because they were stolen throughout centuries of history.
This type of representation is not so common in ancient Greek sculpture. For that alone they already acquire an important value. But there is also no doubt about the quality of these figures and their particular style.
Lion of Delos
They were depicted as a lioness guard looking east towards the lake. Although, they are forms that are far from naturalism, and it is necessary to take into account that we are in a quite archaic moment of the statuary of Classical Greece. Perhaps that is why they are quite hieratic forms, and the influence of the art of the Ancient Near East can be appreciated in that. Like the stylized shapes, they are very orientalist.
On the other hand, it also has its similarities with the figures that were painted on pieces of Cycladic pottery in the second half of the 7th century BC. This would also mean that stylization that tends to very elongated bodies, in which there is not even an atom of fat, and that have a proportionally very small head with shapesrounded.