We will give medieval painters and artists a bit of a break for not having many reference materials to accurately depict lions in the wild. After all, with maned lions only existing in Africa, the artists painting these frescos and other pieces couldn’t easily look up lions in an encyclopedia. Others think that the artists purposely immortalized their lions in ways that match other fantastical beasts like unicorns and centaurs.
Even still, the range of strange, inaccurate, and downright hilarious interpretations of lions gathered below show that the beast remained an elusively hard animal to depict. Curated from imagery from the Middle Ages, it’s a fascinating and chuckle-worthy collection. Via JSTOR: