|The original in hammered bronze
is at Olympia in Greece where it was found. The delicate detail
and the stylization of the design make this fascinating object
of antiquity strangely modern. It originally was one of three
such heads serving as handles fastened below the rim of a bronze
cauldron. In classical mythology the griffin was a composite
creature usually having the body of a lion and the head and wings
of an eagle. There were also fantastic interpretations that often
combined these qualities with those of a serpent. They were believed
to live in the mountains of Scythia (now in southern Russia).
It was further believed that they found and guarded gold. In
later times the griffin became a symbol of strength and vigilance.