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Animal Sculptures

Animal forms are the oldest forms of figural representation, alongside the human body, appearing in sculpture from the prehistoric period onward. Over time, different artists in differing artistic traditions have chosen to represent animals for a multitude of reasons. Some would seek to accurately capture the natural world, or to focus on realism, while others would abstract the forms, to achieve a more expressive or impressionistic effect.

Animal sculpture can have a wide variety of symbolic meanings. In ancient Greece, certain animal statues were often created to be offerings to the gods. In ancient Egypt, cat and dog statues were placed in tombs to allow the deceased to continue his lifestyle into the afterlife, and in pre-modern China, Lion statues were meant to be guardians at the entrance to homes and palaces. Equestrian horse statues have a long history of immortalizing military leaders.

In more modern times, animal sculpture has sometimes been considered a more basic pursuit in comparison to other subjects. The French academy considered only still life painting to be lower on their hierarchy of genres. Nevertheless, in the 18th and 19th centuries, a whole class of artist was devoted to the representation of animals, and achieved considerable renown and success.


Quick Facts

  • Contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s “Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads” recently sold for over $5.4 million at auction. Jeff Koon’s recent sale of the hyper-stylized “Balloon Dog (orange)” sold for $58.4 million, in 2013
  • The art market for ancient animal sculpture is similarly strong. The Mesopotamian “Guennol Lioness,” estimated to be at least 5,000 years old, was sold in 2010 for $57.2 million
  • A popular myth of equestrian statue contends that if a rider’s horse is rearing, that person died in battle. While this is true in some cases, not all figures follow this rule

Recommended Items at Auction

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1986 Boehm Big Horn Sheep Limited Edition Statue
Jul 13, 10:00 AM MST
1986 Boehm Big Horn Sheep Limited Edition Statue
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$25013 Bids
Finney Humming Bird
Jul 18, 10:00 AM EDT
Finney Humming Bird
by New England Auctions
Est: $800- $1,200
$1,10012 Bids
Charles Schreyvogel White Eagle Bronze
Jul 13, 9:00 AM MDT
Charles Schreyvogel White Eagle Bronze
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $6,000- $8,000
$10011 Bids
A cold painted bronze pheasant, Length 15 cm
Jul 13, 7:00 PM AEST
A cold painted bronze pheasant, Length 15 cm
by Lawsons
Est: AUD100- AUD150
AUD1109 Bids
Scarce Signed CARTIER Crystal 12 Inch Dragon Sculpture
Jul 24, 10:00 AM EDT
Scarce Signed CARTIER Crystal 12 Inch Dragon Sculpture
by South Florida Auction & Estate Sale Services
Est: $1,800- $3,600
$1608 Bids
Lloyd Le Blanc, large equine bronze
Jul 18, 10:00 AM EDT
Lloyd Le Blanc, large equine bronze
by Millea Bros Ltd
Est: $400- $600
$7507 Bids
Austrian cold painted bronze owl
Jul 17, 10:00 AM CDT
Austrian cold painted bronze owl
by Jaremos
Est: $100- $300
$1506 Bids
Cast metal Bear Figure: stamped on foot – made in Italy, 10 ½” L x 5 ¼” H
Jul 21, 3:00 PM EDT
Cast metal Bear Figure: stamped on foot – made in Italy, 10 ½” L x 5 ¼” H
by Roan Inc. Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $0- $0
$356 Bids
Carved wood wall hanging whale figure in dark stain finish with nail head eye: 26” L
Jul 21, 3:00 PM EDT
Carved wood wall hanging whale figure in dark stain finish with nail head eye: 26” L
by Roan Inc. Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $0- $0
$405 Bids
Sterling hallmarked Horse figure: cement filled; 8 ½” L x 6 ¾” H
Jul 21, 3:00 PM EDT
Sterling hallmarked Horse figure: cement filled; 8 ½” L x 6 ¾” H
by Roan Inc. Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $0- $0
$355 Bids
GEORGE VUKSON (ALASKA, B.1954) CARVED FOSSILIZED WHALE BONE SCULPTURE
Jul 13, 10:00 AM CDT
GEORGE VUKSON (ALASKA, B.1954) CARVED FOSSILIZED WHALE BONE SCULPTURE
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $800
$3005 Bids
1984 Boehm Little Owl Bronze/ Bisque Limited Edition Statue
Jul 13, 10:00 AM MST
1984 Boehm Little Owl Bronze/ Bisque Limited Edition Statue
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$605 Bids
LTD AMERICAN ANIMAL BRONZE SCULPTURE BY KENT ULLBERG
Jul 13, 10:00 AM EDT
LTD AMERICAN ANIMAL BRONZE SCULPTURE BY KENT ULLBERG
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$2755 Bids
A mummified cat,
Jul 30, 10:00 AM BST
A mummified cat,
by Sworders
Est: £200- £300
£2404 Bids
Ken Bjorge Seated Bear Bronze
Jul 13, 9:00 AM MDT
Ken Bjorge Seated Bear Bronze
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $400- $600
$454 Bids
Ken Bjorge Seated Bear Bronze
Jul 13, 9:00 AM MDT
Ken Bjorge Seated Bear Bronze
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $400- $600
$804 Bids
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Pair of 800 Silver Game Bird Table Garnitures
Jul 14, 2:00 PM EDT
Pair of 800 Silver Game Bird Table Garnitures
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $800- $2,000
$1604 Bids
(2pc) Italian Porcelain Bird Sculptures
Jul 13, 10:00 AM MST
(2pc) Italian Porcelain Bird Sculptures
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$754 Bids
Vintage Breyer Man 'O War Chestnut Thoroughbred Horse #47, 11" x 9 1/2", EC
Jul 17, 6:00 PM EDT
Vintage Breyer Man 'O War Chestnut Thoroughbred Horse #47, 11" x 9 1/2", EC
by Homestead Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$83 Bids
Carved Turkey
Jul 18, 10:00 AM EDT
Carved Turkey
by New England Auctions
Est: $150- $250
$1253 Bids
Vintage 1975 Four Breyer Miniature Horses , EC
Jul 17, 6:00 PM EDT
Vintage 1975 Four Breyer Miniature Horses , EC
by Homestead Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$63 Bids
Sergio Bustamante Toucan Bird Egg Sculpture SIGNED
Jul 17, 12:00 PM EDT
Sergio Bustamante Toucan Bird Egg Sculpture SIGNED
by MiddleManBrokers
Est: $1- $1,000
$603 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Animal Sculptures


Weatherham Estate Treasures

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Guyette & Deeter

Guyette & Deeter

Absolute Auction

Absolute Auction

Setdart Auction House

Setdart Auction House