Very old and beautifully hand carved wooden figure of the Lion of Lucerne Memorial to the Swiss Guards who protected the French Royal Family just prior to the French Revolution (1792, to be exact). While Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI took a powder out of the back door of the Tuileries without mentioning to anyone they were leaving, the Swiss Guard fought to the death out in the front yard with the angry Republican rabble with pitchforks. So, for no reason whatever, 500 - 700 (depending on whose account you're reading) of Switzerland's finest young soldiers got butchered, when they could have just opened the doors and announced the family was on vacation. The Swiss built a magnificent memorial in 1821 and this figure was probably made as a souvenir sometime in the mid to late 1800s. The wood is quite oxidized, dry and lightweight for it's size, although seemingly very stable. Some of the fine detail in the lion's mane and tail has been worn down or lost and there is a small hole behind the shield where another shield may have been attached. The original dark finish, which looks like the varnish used on old violins, is worn on the raised areas and along the edges and corners but in otherwise good condition without crazing. The medieval looking battle-scarred lion figure weeps on his shield and battle axe on a base carved with the slogan "HELVETIORUM FIDEI AG VIRTUII?? DIE X AUGUSTI II ET III SEPTEMBRIS MDCCX??". The dimensions are 6 & 3/4" wide by 3 & 1/4" high by 2 & 5/8" deep.
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