The gryphon is a mythical beast whose origins lie in the ancient Near East, perhaps over 5,000 years ago. It combines the body, hind legs and tail of a lion with the head, breast and wings of an eagle. At some point in history it acquired pointed ears that seem to be all its own, but could be considered catlike. Among other things, it came, in heraldry, to symbolise courage and boldness.
This example is one of two that perch atop pillars on either side of the gate to Dunster Court on Mincing Lane in the City of London and are "supporters" of the arms of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers, one of "the Great Twelve" livery companies. I walk through the gate nearly every working day and I love the sight of these fantastical beasts.