The Guennol Lioness is a 5,000-year-old Mesopotamian statue found near Baghdad, Iraq. The limestone sculpture measures just over 8 cm (3.25 in) tall, it Depicts a muscular anthropomorphic lioness-woman, it sold for $57.2 million at Sotheby’s auction house on December 5, 2007.It was described by Sotheby’s as “one of the last known masterworks from the dawn of civilization remaining in private hands. The sculpture had been acquired by a private collector, Alastair Bradley Martin, in 1948 from the collection of Joseph Brummer, and had been on display at Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York City from that time to its sale in 2007.
At the time of its 2007 sale, the price paid at auction for The Guennol Lioness was the highest paid for a sculpture to that date, easily exceeding the record of Pablo Picasso’s Tete de femme (Dora Maar).
One day before the auction, experts had been estimating that the highest bid would be between $14 million and $18 million. The sale price of the lioness-woman exceeded the $28.6 million paid for Artemis and the Stag, a 2,000-year-old bronze figure that Sotheby’s also sold in New York during June 2007 and which then held the record for the most expensive antiquity to be sold at auction.