Byzantine Griffin Panel

A panel with a Griffin (a lion and an eagle — the king of birds and the king of animals — combined).


Evan and Anne discuss Panel with a Griffin, 1250–1300, made in Greece or the Balkans (possibly), marble, 59.7 x 52.1 x 6.5 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

For the classroom

Questions for study or discussion

Thinking about context

  • What function did this object likely serve?
  • What details indicate that this object was created for a Christian setting?

Thinking about this object

  • What materials and techniques were used to create this object?
  • What role do materials and techniques play in the object’s appearance and the viewer’s experience of it?

Thinking about iconography/subject matter

  • What is a griffin?
  • What significance did griffins hold?
  • How might this imagery relate to the object’s function?

Thinking about art history

  • In what other cultures and media do griffins appear?
  • Why do you think this motif appears across different periods and cultures?

Additional resources

Smarthistory’s free Guide to Byzantine Art e-book

Cite this page as: Dr. Evan Freeman and Dr. Anne McClanan, "Byzantine Griffin Panel," in Smarthistory, August 10, 2019, accessed June 21, 2024,