This statue was designed and constructed by the Edo People of the Republic of Benin. In Edo as in other African cultures, the lion and leopard are conceptualized as icons of courage, strength and perseverance. By tradition, and similar to ancient Mesopotamian culture, if a young male desires to be king someday, he must hunt and kill a lion to prove his future leadership skills. Once he achieves this task, fellow Edo People furnish the boy with a lion statue such as this. As hunting these beasts has been long forbidden in this region, these statues are now retained as decorative pieces by powerful and wealthy males within Edo society.