Ancient Palmyra Lion of Allat statue from the 1st century AD goes on display in Damascus

The Lion of Allat statue from the 1st century AD went on display in Damascus National Museum Sunday after the 15-ton monument, heavily damaged by the Islamic State (IS, ISIS/ISIL) militants, underwent restoration.

“It was an internationally known symbol of Palmyra, it was standing in front of the museum. Every tourist visiting Palmyra and the museum had a photo with it,” said Polish archaeologist Bartosz Markowski, who worked on its reconstruction, as quoted by Reuters.

Islamic State destroyed several landmarks, including the Triumphal Arch and the Roman Theater, after the group took control of Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site, in 2015.

The Lion of al-Lāt (Arabic اللات) was an ancient statue of a lion holding a crouching gazelle which adorned the temple of pre-Islamic goddess al-Lāt in Palmyra, Syria. The statue was made from limestone ashlars in the early 1st century AD and measured 3.5 m (11 ft) in height, weighing 15 tonnes. The lion was regarded as the consort of Al-lāt. The gazelle symbolized Al-lāt’s tender and loving traits, as bloodshed was not permitted under penalty of Al-lāt’s retaliation. The lion’s left paw had a partially damaged Palmyrene inscription which read: tbrk ʾ[lt] (Al-lāt will bless) mn dy lʾyšd (whoever will not shed) dm ʿl ḥgbʾ (blood in the sanctuary). On 27 June 2015 the statue was demolished by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant after it had captured Palmyra. The statue has since been moved to the National Museum of Damascus where it is undergoing restoration works.