This solid 9ct gold leopard brooch was made in Birmingham in the 1970s. The tree branch the leopard sits on has been delicately cast and if you look closely you can see the detail of the bark and even a knot. The leopard himself has ruby eyes and his spots are minuscule dots of black enamel. It must have taken a great deal of skill to place those minute black touches of colour on this ‘big cat’.
In Nigeria, in the Kingdom of Benin, the Oba (King) was the only one allowed to sacrifice a leopard, he allowed his bravest warriors to capture the leopard but the Oba would perform the actual kill.
A 16th century Benin bronze water jug depicting a leopard from the British Museum. This is one of the objects my husband talks about on his special Highlights Tour at the museum.
The American poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) wrote
Was the Leopard—bold?
Deserts—never rebuked her Satin—
She was Conscious—
Spotted—her Dun Gown—
This was the Leopard’s nature—Signor—
Pity—the Pard—that left her Asia—
Cannot be stifled—with Narcotic—
Nor suppressed—with Balm—
The collective noun for leopards is a ‘leap’. At the moment I only have one leaping leopard, I’m unlikely to find many more of this quality but I will keep looking to find some to add to my collection.