Seated Lion Pomander

Gold seated lion with scattered diamonds and enamel

Probably South German
Seated Lion Pomander
ca. 1575
Gold, diamonds, rubies, and enamel
2 13/16 × 1 1/4 × 1 7/8 in. (7.1 × 3.2 × 4.8 cm)
Gift of Alexis Gregory, 2021
Photo Joseph Coscia Jr.


Cast in gold and made of six distinctive parts—body, tail, head, collar, crown, and heart—this seated lion has a pelt and a flowing mane richly mounted with cut and faceted diamonds and rubies. The head and collar are set with rubies, diamonds, and black enamel. The chasing creates the effect of fur. The lion clutches a gold heart with diamonds, which bears an Italian inscription that may be a line from a poem: Che.gire.ancor qu.i.s.oggi orna (Here the heart adorns itself today so as to keep beating). The head, which can be unscrewed, and the small holes located on the head—in the nostrils and the mouth—identify this work as a pomander, a small object meant to contain aromatic substances and protect against disease.

  281 — (1) Curator's Reflection (English) (2) Curator's Reflection (French)
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