Greek Bronze Griffin Protome, c. late 7th century BC
From the shoulder of a large bronze cauldron.
Herodotus writes of a Griffin that must have been very similar to this one:
The Samians took six talents, a tenth of their profit, and made a bronze vessel with it, like an Argolic cauldron, with Grypes’ (Griffins’) heads projecting from the rim all around; they set this up in their temple of Hera, supporting it with three colossal kneeling figures of bronze, each twelve feet high. - Herodotus, Histories 4. 152. 4
In Greek mythology, griffins were a tribe of beasts that guarded rich gold deposits in certain northern or eastern mountains. Their one-eyed neighbors—the Skythian Arimasp tribe—battled them for these riches.
While griffins are most common in the art and lore of Ancient Greece, there is evidence of representations of griffins in Ancient Persian and Ancient Egyptian art as far back as 3,300 BC. The earliest depiction of griffins are the 15th century BC frescoes in the Throne Room of the Bronze Age Palace of Knossos, as restored by Sir Arthur Evans. It continued being a favored decorative theme in Archaic and Classical Greek art.