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Pink limestone (called "Verona Marble")
Overall: 75.9 x 50.2 x 120.7 cm (29 7/8 x 19 3/4 x 47 1/2 in.)
Weight: 611.442 kg (1348 lbs.)
Gift of the John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1928.861
According to medieval bestiaries, griffins could tear a man to pieces and carry a whole bovine away, as seen here.
Griffins are fabled creatures that have the characteristics of an eagle and a lion—combining watchfulness and courage. In Christian art, the dual nature of the griffin was often used to signify that of Christ himself: divine (bird) and human (animal). Griffins were often used as guardian figures in church sculpture and were placed in portals and choir screens. The creatures seen here, with their inward-turning heads, were certainly used for such a purpose. When viewed from the front, one griffin may be seen clutching the figure of a knight between its paws, while the other griffin holds a calf. Their original function was probably to support the columns of a porch in front of a church doorway.
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