Animals: real + imagined

Capitoline Wolf, 5th century B.C.E. or medieval, bronze, 75 cm (Capitoline Museums, Rome)
Abandoned as infants, the mythical founders of Rome were raised by a she-wolf.

Capitoline She-wolf

Bushel with ibex motifs
This beautiful pot was created over 5,000 years ago, and its decoration echoes its shape.

Bushel with ibex motifs

Lion Hunts of Ashurbanipal (ruled 669-630 B.C.E.), c. 645 B.C.E., gypsum,Neo-Assyrian, hall reliefs from Palace at Ninevah across the Tigris from present day Mosul, Iraq; excavated by H. Rassam beginning in 1853 (British Museum)
Only the king was permitted to kill lions—and doing so signified his power and ability to keep nature at bay.

Ashurbanipal Hunting Lions

Barberini Faun (detail)
Part man, part goat, this companion of the god of wine relaxes after a night of drinking.

Barberini Faun

The Unicorn in Captivity (one of seven woven hangings popularly known as the Unicorn Tapestries or the Hunt of the Unicorn)- detail
This is a creature so pure it can’t be caught—maybe that’s why the meaning of the tapestry eludes us.

The Unicorn in Captivity

Lascaux, Hall of Bulls
Mysteries surround the cave paintings at Lascaux, but it’s clear our use of images has a long history.

Hall of Bulls, Lascaux