Friday, 29 November 2013

Dental Hygiene is Important

The story of Samson and the Lion is undoubtedly a crazy one, but it's impressive how all the paintings of it manage to be EVEN WEIRDER:

The expressions on both their faces are so serene. This doesn't look like a hero tearing apart a ferocious beast; it just looks like a mildly complicated dental exam.

Samson's looking for plaque, and the lion is merely waiting for it to be over.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Ireland: Another Country Doing Lions Poorly

Straight out of Trinity College Dublin, in the Book of Kells exhibit:

The great Checkerboard Lion of Ireland! This noble creature can be identified by the way he pranced on his tiptoes through the Irish countryside, displaying the perfect ringlets of the mane that stretches, inexplicably, all the way down to his tail.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Very Definition of Ferocious

For a mere £2000, this late-nineteenth-century automaton could be yours*:

I know what you're thinking - that is a whole lot of badness for just a couple of month's rent payments.

And you haven't even seen it in action yet!

(The video gets off to a slow start, but TRUST ME when I say you want to stick around until the :30 mark).

I may never recover.

Thanks to Tulia for the great submission!

* Seriously. This thing is for sale.

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Face Says it All

"Yeah, I know. Trust me, I know. Just move along, and try not to hold it against me."

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Congratulations, You Ruined It

You all may remember this brilliant piece of lion taxidermy:

Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the artists have more lion pieces. The bad news is that they do, indeed, "represent" something:

"The striking beauty and the vividness of the animals that figure in the works, conjure powerful emotions of awe and inspiration before giving way to our morbid curiosity surrounding death, which leads us ultimately to think of our own mortality. This contrast between beauty, luxury and greed coupled with the mystery of death, timelessly preserved, transports one into a transient state of mind, in which anything is possible." (from This Must be Designed by Idiots)*

Jesus. Why can't they just say: I wanted to see if I could shove a massive hunk of quartz into a lion:

No one would judge them for that.

* Note: I like how the minerals/metals represent "greed and luxury", while the animals represent "awe and beauty" -- as if gold and quartz aren't just beautiful products of nature, too. If they wanted a contrast, they should have seen if they could stick a flatscreen TV inside the lion.**

**Note: I very much encourage someone to do this.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

I Just Have So Many Questions

Why do so many people think lions are just big dogs?

Friday, 27 September 2013

Labeling something a "lion" does not make it a lion

As that zoo in China has recently discovered, calling something a "lion" doesn't magically make it one. A dog by any other name is still a dog and a...

Yes, this statue was actually labeled "Lion".

Weasel? Capybara? Hedgehog? is definitely NOT a lion.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

George Eliot Knows What's Up

My two interests in life inexplicably collide!

‘Falsehood is so easy, truth so difficult. The pencil is conscious of a delightful facility in drawing a griffin—the longer the claws, and the larger the wings, the better; but that marvellous facility which we mistook for genius is apt to forsake us when we want to draw a real unexaggerated lion.’
George Eliot, Adam Bede, Ch. 17.

Thanks for the submission, Brian!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Guest Post

Today's guest post comes from loyal reader/enabler Will:

"So you see this lion, and you think...that's pretty bad right there:

And THEN you see the real one, and you realise: the first one is perhaps a warning sign, placed there so you have time to prepare yourself:

Thanks for contributing, Will!

Friday, 30 August 2013

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Brace Yourselves, This One is a Doozy

I was actually looking for more taxidermal (taxidermic? these are both apparently the adjective form of 'taxidermy') lions (a perennial favorite around here), when I stumbled upon this:


What? Why? How? Who?

This actually is taxidermy, because (again, brace yourselves), that's REAL SKIN up there.

From Dull Tool Dim Bulb:

"As much taxidermy as folk art, this terrifying lion must have certainly been part of a menagerie, as whoever made him was magnificently talented.  Wooden teeth, fake eyes, an actual animal skin around a internal frame of unknown material.  The mane is gone, long gone, and replaced with another piece of animal skin tacked on with brads.  Extraordinary!  The entire body is hand-stitched, possibly with sinew...and the lion is ten inches long."

This thing is from the nineteenth century, a time when people were genuinely weirder than they are now. Just, completely screwed up. 

Here, have another angle:

The most important thing is that you don't think about this lion as you're falling asleep tonight...

Friday, 16 August 2013

Oh, China

Dear Luohe Zoo,

You should know this kind of thing only works on Virginians:

It's sad that I can say this, but this isn't even the most lion-like dog we've seen on this blog:

Best part of the story? "Visitors to Luohe zoo noticed ruse when dog started barking."

Those are some eagle-eyed (eared?) patrons. The zoo never stood a chance.

Thanks for the tip, Brian and Will!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Yvain 4: Wrath of Yvain

It's really not a good sign when the lion on your shield is more realistic than the ACTUAL LION.

BONUS: Nerdy commentary from a reader:

"Listen, if you want to do movie title names for Yvain, though, it might interest you to know that the moon which the death star nearly destroys in Star Wars A New Hope is called 'Yavin 4'

Frankly, I don't know what to do with that information except just post it here. 

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Bad Lions in Every Medium!

Now, I'm not claiming I could crochet anything - let alone a 9 m lion - worth a damn.

Nevertheless, these lions are a bit ... bad, aren't they?

Shauna Richardson, Lionheart

The crochet work is absolutely beautiful, but they look like a bunch of teenagers whose mom just found pot in their sock drawer.


Saturday, 20 July 2013

It's Called Google, People

Dear contemporary lion artists:

Open browser. Type "lion" into search bar. Draw what you see.

Seriously, you have no excuse for this crap:

Pull it together, people.


(Sorry it's blurry, but let's be fair: a clearer image wouldn't improve the situation at all).

Thanks for the submission, Will and Hannah!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Lions: Secretly Child's Play?

One excuse for the myriad of bad lions in art is that many of the (classical) painters had never seen a lion before. However, I think there's another reason so many lions are crap: the artists take advantage of the fact that no matter how bad a lion is, it is still recognizable.

Anyone who's played charades or draw something knows this. You can draw a dog and have people guessing "cow!" "goat!" "alligator!" endlessly, but lions have a handy mane that makes them instantly recognizable, no matter how many of the other features are completely fucked.

Case in point: I have witnessed a two year old easily recognize this as a lion:

Illustration from The Big Orange Splot, by Daniel Manus Pinkwater.

More importantly, first she recognized THIS as a lion:

So I guess what I'm saying is that lion artists are mostly both bad AND lazy.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

A Face Even a Mother Wouldn't Love

Even the lion is disgusted by how bad he is.

Thanks for the submission, Joanne!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Won't Someone Please Think of the Children?

The only thing I can say is...

At least he's happy?

Thanks to Alice for the submission! Remember, if you have a bad lion, you can send it in to

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

We're Back

Sorry for the horrible lull in posting. To make up for it, have this great lion:

If by "great" I mean "stressed, possibly drug-addled, with wings growing out of his forearms".

This is the lion version of that homeless dude who stands on the corner muttering about government probes in his brain.

Thanks to Maria for the submission!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Flattening Them Really Doesn't Help

It’s a fact: Lionskin rugs will never look good, because no matter how well done, they strongly resemble a lion dropped from a very great height:


But even within that realm of awful, there are some true masterpieces.

The standard expression for these bad boys is the snarl:

“I might be a rug, but I could still kick your ass”.

But some taxidermists choose to deviate. There’s the “Oh shit, I’m a rug”:

The “holy crap, how could this happen to someone with such good hair?”:

The “Of course. My mother always said I’d be a failure”:

And, naturally, the “Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuude. I’m so flaaaaaaaaaat”:

Keep up the good work, taxidermists!

Friday, 26 April 2013

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

One of these is a fairly good, recognizable representation of a known animal:

The other one?  Not so much.

(Note: I've blurred the children in this photo because I stole it off of twitter like a giant creep). 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

I Promise, You Will Regret This Later

Amazingly, I think the world of tattoo art might be beating even the middle ages for sheer number of crappy lions.

Let's take a closer look:

Yeah, because that's the kind of face you want to gaze into every day for the rest of your life.

Thanks for the submission, Clare!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Green Lion, Blood Sun?

I can't begin to comprehend what's going on here, but it's fucking incredible.

Thanks for the submission, Joanne!

If you have a lion to submit, send it to  I will eventually post it!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Does no one know what a lion looks like?

Click here for the Full Story.

Dear Virginia residents:

You are idiots.  May I suggest a website to educate yourselves? (Hint: it's this one).


Thanks to Dionne for the link!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

But Who's Really Letting Down the Team?

Normally, in a taxidermy tableau there's one lion just screwing things up for everyone:

But in this one, they're all stoned.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

More Art to Come

But how could I not post Joco the cross-eyed lion?

Monday, 11 February 2013