"The Guard"

Critic opinion

"The Guard"

Leopard is the symbol of fearlessness, ferocity and hardiness. Spots on its skin remind eyes, and this makes people call it «the unsleeping guardian». The word «guardian» has an additional meaning in Yekaterina Yakovleva’s sculpture. The image of a leopard is known to have had a sacral meaning in the eastern countries. In ancient China, leopards were a security against misfortunes. They were not allowed to sleep day and night. To assure that the leopard was not sleeping, but guarding its master, people used to place balls under the animal’s feet. If a ball was rolling out from under the leopard’s feet, the animal was not considered a faithful guard.

The sculpture’s style is bestiarity, the style which keeps natural science and artistic elements together. The work presents a glance of the relations between the man and the animal in the ancient times. The ball is not a toy for the leopard, but a sign of its might. This is also the explanation for the non-classic pose of the animal: the leopard is lying, instead of sitting.

Though, it is the artist’s style specifics: Yekaterina’s trend is to use explicit vertical lines in her work. Such fine vertical lines are especially good when implemented in bronze. This material conforms to the animal’s nature, while expressing its character and power.


The sculpture called «The Guard» is good for the colonial style, which requires the presence of animals and the absence of excessive utensils in the house. The leopard’s bronze figure fits well into such a space, where each object lives its own life (for the leopard is known to be a lone animal).


The Chinese associate this beast with bravery and bellicosity. A little bit of military decoration may be safely trusted to this guard of bronze.


But if you don’t feel like assigning a menacing symbolism to the guard’s figure, remember that the leopard is a cat first, a predator next.  Aside from roar, some species of these unsleeping guards can purr…
By Mariya Kunst