The Representation of Lions around the World

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The lion is one of the most iconic animals all around the world. Having been used as an icon for more millennia, the lion is easily one of the most represented animals across all forms and media. A lion is often used as a metaphor for strength, courage and leadership. People awed by this creature’s unique characteristics often use it in works of art and a number of other media. Taking a look at the various ways in which lions are represented all around the world gives us a comprehension of just how relevant and popular they are. Here are some ways in which the world represents lions:

Ancient Representations

Lions are mythical creatures that have been present in ancient literature and fables. The ancient Egyptians made the Sphinx, based on a creature possessing a lion’s body. Much like that, depictions of lions can be tracked from these ancient times to the present day. There are references to lions in both the Bible and in Islamic traditions. Ancient Persians had a remarkable affinity for lions and depicted them in a number of sculptures and other forms. From ancient times till now, lions have always been used to depict strength.

Heraldry Representation

Because lions are commonly held synonymous with courage, they are the national animal of a number of countries. Countries which have declared the lion as their national animal range from Ethiopia to Sri Lanka to the UK. Both Sri Lanka and the UK have lions as in their national flags. Lions have long been used as a sign of prestige, holding extreme importance for English heraldry. Although there have never been any reported lions having a habitat in the UK, their unrivaled reputation made them the representation of England’s prestigious heraldry.

In Art

As mentioned above, lions have long been depicted using sculptures. Beyond sculptures, a number of painters have made lions the subjects of their work. These include works by Hans Memling, Briton Reviere, and Albrecht Durer. Due to their immense popularity, they have been depicted in works of literature and movies as well. Writers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, CS Lewis, George RR Martin, and JK Rowling use lions either as characters or as models to depict bravery. Many popular movies have been based around lions or used them as metaphors for their stories. The Ghost and the Darkness, starring popular actors like Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer, is a very famous movie based on a true story about lions killing humans.

With their unrivaled status at the top of the food chain, and their iconic appearance, lions have long fascinated human beings. Their influence is such that four currencies all around the world include them in their notes and coins. Lions are without a doubt the best metaphor anyone can use to depict their strength, prestige, courage, and their leadership status. The King of the Jungle’s influence spreads far beyond his territory.


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