Lion's-Head Waterspout
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Bruce White Photography
Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

Greek, South Italy, about 450 B.C.
6 7/8 x 7 5/16 in.

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Waterspouts in the form of lion's heads lined the eaves of many Classical Greek buildings, especially those in public areas. Used to channel and control the rainwater runoff from the roof, these spouts funneled the water through the lions' open mouths. Sometimes the spouts were carved in one piece with the sima, the gutter-like element that ran along the edge of the roof. Sometimes, as in this example, the spout was carved separately and inserted like a plug into a hole in the sima. The style of the lion's carving indicates that it came from a Greek colony in South Italy or Sicily; the size of the head indicates that it came from a small building.