Chinese Guardian Lioness (“Foo Dog”) Large Carved & Painted Wood SOLD A447b

Vermilion is the color and the sheer size of the lion is very imposing. Two lions!… for the mother has a cub playing at her feet. Your house or business will be safe under this awesome figure’s protection.

37″ H x 32″L x 22″D

Price on request.

Chinese guardian lions or Imperial guardian lion, often called “Foo Dogs” in the West, are a common representation of the lion in pre-modern China. Statues of guardian lions have traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy, from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), and were believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits. They are also used in other artistic contexts, for example on door-knockers, and in pottery. Pairs of guardian lion statues are still common decorative and symbolic elements at the entrances to restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and other structures, with one sitting on each side of the entrance, in China and in other places around the world where the Chinese people have immigrated and settled, especially in local Chinatowns.

The lions are usually depicted in pairs. When used as statuary, the pair would consist of a male resting his paw upon an embroidered ball (in imperial contexts, representing supremacy over the world) and a female restraining a playful cub that is on its back (representing nurture).

The lions are always presented in pairs, a manifestation of yin and yang, the female representing yin and the male yang. The male lion has its right front paw on an embroidered ball which is sometimes carved with a geometric pattern known in the West as the ” Flower of Life”. The female is essentially identical, but has a cub under the closer (left) paw to the male, representing the cycle of life. Symbolically, the female fu lion protects those dwelling inside, while the male guards the structure. Sometimes the female has her mouth closed, and the male open. This symbolizes the enunciation of the sacred word “om”. However, Japanese adaptions state that the male is inhaling, representing life, while the female exhales, representing death. Other styles have both lions with a single large pearl in each of their partially opened mouths. The pearl is carved so that it can roll about in the lion’s mouth but sized just large enough so that it can never be removed.

According to fang shui, correct placement of the lions is important to ensure their beneficial effect. When looking out of a building through the entrance to be guarded, looking in the same direction as the lions, the male is placed on the left and the female on the right. So when looking at the entrance from outside the building, facing the lions, the male lion with the ball is on the right, and the female with the cub is on the left.