Deccan, India / Probably Sultanate
15th / 16th century
A rare gold ring with an image of a lion with an upraised paw on the bezel. The shank of the ring on either side features images of stylised sunbursts. At the lower end of the shank is a decorative notch. The image of a lion with an upraised paw was a frequent motif in art from the Deccan. It was rarely used elsewhere in the Indian subcontinent where, although leonine figures were common, the saluting paw was not.
In the 16th century painting of the Throne of Prosperity in the Nujum al Ullum from Bijapur, Deccan (now in The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin), rows upon rows of little lions with upraised paws line the step-risers flanking two peacocks. Similar creatures figure in both stone and stucco art and architecture of the 16th and 17th centuries at Bidar. Three surviving Deccan bronze incense burners from the same period, now in various museums, feature the same or similar image. An identical leonine image is also found on a 16th century textile in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.