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A Balinese polychrome and gilt wood sculpture of a winged lion, Singa Bersayap

Northeast Bali, Singaraja, Buleleng Regency, circa 1900-1930

H. 55.5 x W. 32.5 x D. 54 cm

A magnificent wooden polychrome winged lion carved from one piece of wood, except for the wings and tail, which slot into the lion’s body. Typical of a traditional Balinese Singa, king of the forest, protector, and overcomer of evil, with ferocious expression, bulging eyes, fierce fangs, wings as a Garuda and a flashing S-shaped tail. However, lions never existed on Bali. Singa originated from Chinese representations of a lion mixed with the Hindu-Buddhists lion, which is an avatar of Vishnu. On Bali in addition, it can often be seen holding up the corners of temples and buildings (see, for instance, Uit Verre Streken November 2015, no. 33).