127. A Bronze Bowl Showing Hercules and the Lion of Numea

Gandhara, 1st–4th century AD
Size: 15 cm diameter

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Hercules performed twelve Labours, of which this was one. His method of doing it is precisely illustrated in five scenes. In the western Hellenistic world he is shown strangling the lion, a superhuman feat probably reflecting more ancient heroic figures. In the Orient they reviewed his feat more practically and gave him a sword, which, after some wrestling he used to good effect.

Published: O. Bopearachchi, C. Landes, C. Sachs, De l’Indus à l’Oxus. Archéologie de l’Asie Centrale, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Montpellier, 2003, no.134.

Provenance: Private collection, UK