Yacimiento Arqueológico

of the lions

Replica of the Fountain of the Lions of the Alhambra, installed in the Plaza de la Constitución in Macael with the aim of highlighting the use of its marble in art throughout history.

Foto fuente de los leones

Replica of the Fountain of the Lions of the Alhambra, installed in Plaza de La Constitución in Macael with the aim of highlighting the use of its marble in art throughout history.

The Fountain of the Lions is the best known image of the Alhambra, being considered the masterpiece of Andalusian art, a symbol of its decorative richness and synthesis of the hydraulic complex of the enclosure.

The study made on the occasion of its restoration confirms that both the cup and the lions are made of Macael Marble, being manufactured at the same time between 1362 and 1391, under the reign of Mohamed V.

It is made up of 12 lions, all different in size and details, however they can be grouped into three groups of four, depending on the similarity of their formal features: nose, hair of the mane, jaws and position and relief of the tail.

The cup, 262 cms. in diameter and 49 cms. thick, made in a single piece, has 12 verses by the minister and poet Ibn Zamrak written on its perimeter in which it describes the source itself. Exactly, the only difference of the replica installed in Macael, regard with the original, is that the first is surrounded by a series of marble plates on which the translation of these verses into Spanish are inscribed.

Other studies suggest that they represent the 12 tribes of Israel. Two of them have a triangle on their foreheads indicating the two chosen tribes: Judah and Levi.

On the other hand, it has a political or majestic meaning that could be an evocation of another work built by King Solomon for the Temple of Jerusalem: the so-called Bronze Sea that according to the descriptions in the Book of Kings, its aspect was quite similar to that of the fountain of the lions. It would be a symbolic message related to King Solomon and his justice and wisdom emanating from the divinity. Keep in mind that King Solomon is also an important prophet (Suleiman) for Muslims.

Finally and foremost, it refers to the biblical texts about Paradise. The source would be an evocation of the Cosmic Mountain that united Earth and Sky, the Source of Life. But what can be affirmed is that the source as such is an allegory of the power that resides in the sultan.

The replica, settled here, is part of the work fullfilled by the Macaelense crafts company CAMAR for the realization of the Replica of the Alhambra in Granada in 1998-99 in Riyadh, managed by the Saudi Royal family in white marble from Macael, with more than 500 columns and capitals, 13 fountains, including this one and 2,400 m² of pavement in 3 cms. thick, not existing two slabs of the same size, made with the measurements obtained in the Historical Monument. For this reason, a special permit was granted, by which each day the visitor’s schedule ended, an army of decorators, interior designers and architects took over the palaces, studying and measuring every detail.

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