The Asia Society Leogryph

(Elsa Ruiz)

Wherever Buddhist temples have been built in Asia — and this encompasses vast areas and many civilizations — fierce beasts have stood guard at the four entrances, their ferocious mien symbolizing protection against the intrusion of evil forces.

These beasts are sometimes referred to as leogryphs — they combine the lion and the griffon in their mythical anatomy — and the figure reflects the features of a pair of 18th-century Nepalese bronze leogryphs purchased from the Jacques Marchais Center of Tibetan Art on Staten Island.

The bronzes are 28 inches long and 26 inches tall, one male and one female, and are good examples of the Asian caster's art. The leogryph has long been the logotype symbol of the Asia Society.