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Top 10 Most Famous Lion Statues across the World

In art and sculpture, few could evoke the same sense of power, majesty, and symbolism as the mighty lion. Lion statues have adorned public spaces, cultural landmarks, and private gardens for centuries, representing strength, courage, and regality, leaving an indelible mark on the artistic landscape.

These sculpted marvels transcend mere stone or bronze; they embody the essence of the lion, capturing its regal posture, fierce expression, and symbolic significance. From ancient civilizations to contemporary masterpieces, each statue on this curated list boasts a unique narrative, whether rooted in historical context, cultural symbolism, or artistic innovation.

1. Lion of The Vittorio Emanuele II monument in Venice, Italy–Marcian lion

The Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, known by the Venetians simply as the monument, is located in Riva degli Schiavoni, in Castello, Venice, Italy. It is an equestrian statue made in 1887 by the Roman sculptor Ettore Ferrari.

The equestrian statue, cast by Alessandro Nelli, is placed on top of a base in pink Baveno granite and stone of Istria and depicts Vittorio Emanuele II on horseback with a drawn sword in his hand while inciting battle.

In a frontal position, at the foot of the monument, lie two allegories of the city. On the back there is the seated female figure of “Subjugated Venice”, battered and prisoner following the defeat suffered by the young Republic of San Marco (1848-1849), holding a broken sword, and at the feet, a Marcian lion biting the chains imposed by Austria. On the front, there is the personification of “Venice triumphant”, this time proud of its regained freedom, with its left arm stretched forward and a sword at rest in its right hand, flanked by a roaring Marcian lion who, while tears up the treaty of Vienna of 1815, places its left forepaw on a plaque with the electoral results of the plebiscite of the Veneto of 1866 (641,758 votes for yes and 69 votes for no), placed in turn on the book with the traditional inscription “Pax Tibi Marce/Evangelista Meus”.

the lion of the vittorio emanuele ii monument

Source: The Lion of the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument

The Lion stands as a powerful symbol of historical resistance and victory. Crafted in bronze by Ettore Ferrari in 1887, this majestic lion embodies the spirit of Venetians in their struggle against Austrian oppression. Poised in a dynamic stance, the lion roars triumphantly, commemorating the victory over the forces that sought to stifle Venetian independence. With meticulous detail, the sculpture captures the essence of resilience, emphasizing the significance of historical events. The Lion of the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument serves as a poignant testament to the enduring strength and pride of the Venetian people.

2. Nelson’s Column in London, England–bronze Barbary lions

nelson’s column in london, england bronze barbary lions

Source: Bronze lion sculptures at Nelson’s Column

Nelson’s Column in London, England, proudly stands in Trafalgar Square, adorned with four magnificent lion sculptures at its base. These iconic lions, sculpted by Sir Edwin Landseer in the 1860s, each individualized to represent Peace, War, Vigilance, and Determination. The sculptures were eventually installed in 1867. Each lion, symbolizing British strength and valor, is poised protectively around the column’s pedestal. With intricate details, the sculptures capture the essence of majesty and courage, complementing Admiral Nelson’s towering monument above. The lion sculptures at Nelson’s Column contribute not only to the historical significance of Trafalgar Square but also serve as timeless symbols of the enduring spirit of the British Empire.


Source: Realistic Bronze Lion Statue Outdoor Decor

3. The Art Institute Lions in Chicago, The United States–Lions

Lions (Kemeys) (Lions is a pair of 1893 bronze sculptures) by Edward Kemeys, installed outside of the main entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. The sculptures are well-recognized public artworks.

art institute of chicago lion statue (2 d)

Source: The Northern Sculpture in 2006

The bronze lion sculptures are modeled after African lions. Each sculpture weighs more than two tons. The northern sculpture weighs approximately 5,100 pounds (2,300 kg). They are approximately 10 feet (3.0 m) in length. Today, the sculptures have a green patina. The sculptures flank the outside of the main entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago Building (home to the Art Institute of Chicago), being located along the east side of South Michigan Avenue at the road’s intersection with East Adams Street in the city of Chicago in the U.S. state of Illinois. So the sculptures have occasionally been referred to as the “great protectors”.

4. Guardian of Dreams Lion Sculpture

The “Guardian of Dreams” stone lion sculpture is a beautiful and majestic piece of art. Carved with great detail, it stands strong and watchful. Made from durable stone, this lion is not just a stunning decoration but also a reliable guardian for outdoor spaces. This sculpture encourages people to dream big and stay determined. Whether placed in a garden or a public area, the “Guardian of Dreams” inspires awe and motivates dreamers to pursue their goals with unwavering commitment.

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Source: Guardian of Dreams- Marble Sleeping Lions by Milystatue

5. Chinese guardian lions – Foo Dog

chinese guardian lions in front of tiananmen

Source: Chinese guardian lions in front of Tiananmen

Chinese guardian lions, or imperial guardian lions, are a traditional Chinese architectural ornament. They are known in colloquial English as lion dogs or foo dogs / fu dogs. Statues of guardian lions have traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy, and were believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits. They are also used in other artistic contexts, for example on door-knockers, and in pottery. Pairs of guardian lion statues are still common and symbolic elements at the entrances to restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, and other structures.

6. Lion of Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland

 lion monument

Source: Lion Monument in Switzerland

The Lion Monument or the Lion of Lucerne, is a rock relief in Lucerne, Switzerland, designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen. It is located in the cavity reminiscent of a boar’s silhouette. It is said that the sculptor of the work made this unusual shape as retaliation for getting paid poorly for his work. American author Mark Twain praised the sculpture of a mortally wounded lion as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.

7. Rex The Lion Balances On One Foot

phenomena rexthelion sandiegozoo


A ginormous lion has been prowling South Park since 2007 … and his name is “Rex.” It weigh around seven tons. According to Queens Univerity, Rex, who was sculpted by Jon Hair of Cornelius, reigns as the world’s largest standing lion sculpture, as he welcomes visitors atop his pedestal throne at the Queens Sports Complex at Marion Diehl Park off Tyvola Road.

8. Winged lion statue – Lion of Venice

Lion of Venice
Source: Bronze Lion of Venice

The Lion of Venice is an ancient bronze sculpture of a winged lion in the Piazza San Marco of Venice, Italy, which came to symbolize the city – as well as one of its patron saints, St Mark – after its arrival there in the 12th century. The Lion sculpture has had a very long and obscure history, probably starting its existence as a winged lion-griffin statue on a monument to the god Sandon at Tarsus in Cilicia about 300 BC.

9. The Library Lions – New York Public Library

The Lions at the New York Public Library are two iconic marble lion statues that flank the entrance to the library on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The lions are officially named Patience and Fortitude and are among the most recognizable symbols of the city. The lions have witnessed countless parades and been adorned with holly wreaths during the winter holidays and magnificent floral wreaths in springtime.

10. HSBC lions – Bronze Lion Statues

The HSBC Lions usually refer to the pair of bronze lions in front of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, with specifications of 1.6 meters high, 2.6 meters long and 1.05 meters wide. HAVING two lion statues guarding a building is not uncommon, Stephen and Stitt, the iconic lions of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), are anything but ordinary. HSBC’s lions symbolize success and prosperity which protect the family, the entrance of homes, and public buildings.

hsbc lion statues
Source: The lion statues of HSBC Main Building in Hong Kong, nicknamed “Stephen” (left) and “Stitt” (right) after two of the bank’s managers

The HSBC Lion also carries cultural and historical symbolic significance. As a design that combines Eastern and Western elements, the HSBC Lion embodies Hong Kong’s unique status as the intersection of the East and the West. It is also one of Hong Kong’s landmarks, attracting tourists from all over the world to visit.

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Source: Bronze lion statues made by Milystatue

In addition to its symbolic significance in the financial world, the HSBC Lion is often used as a mascot and cultural symbol. Many people believe that touching certain parts of the HSBC Lion can bring good luck, so many people come every day to take pictures or pray for good luck. This cultural phenomenon further highlights the status of the HSBC Lion in people’s hearts.

How Can I Commission a Custom Lion Statue?

If you are interested in commissioning a custom lion statue, you can contact Milystatue. They will provide free design and good service to meet your specific needs and budget.

Can I Get a Replica of a Famous Lion Statue?

Yes, you can get a replica of a famous lion statue. Mily art statue offers replicas of famous statues, no matter if it’s made of marble or bronze. Contact them for any inquiries you might have about Lion statues for sale.

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