Lion's Paw in Lapis Lazuli
Achaemenid Period (ca. 550 - 330 BCE)
I'm close to being convinced that the Lion was the official animal of the Achaemenid Dynasty, to judge from the frequency with which lions appear in Achaemenid bas-reliefs and from all the bits of leonine sculptures that have turned up at Persepolis.
Could it be the Achaemenid kings identified with Lions, and Lions were in some way surrogates for the monarchs in the human and animal worlds?
The case that contained the paws shown here held several other lions' paws. The only reason I didn't post the photos is they didn't turn out well.
If it weren't for the label that identified the material as lapis lazuli (whose source would have been present-day Afghanistan), I would have said they were the ceramic known as faience, which fires to a blue or green color.
In the museum at Persepolis, Iran.