Pair of decorative antique Chinese handcarved polychrome wooden guardian lions (also called Foodogs, Qilin, shishi).
China, 19th century
In good condition
Heigh: 52 cm.
Chinese guardian lions, or imperial guardian lions, are a traditional Chinese architectural ornament, but the origins lie deep in much older Indian Buddhist traditions. Typically made of stone, they are also known as stone lions or shishi (石獅; shíshī). They are known in colloquial English as lion dogs or foo dogs / fu dogs. The concept, which originated and became popular in Chinese Buddhism, features a pair of highly stylized lions—often one male with a ball which represents the material elements and one female with a cub—which represents the element of spirit, were thought to protect the building from harmful spiritual influences and harmful people that might be a threat. Used in imperial Chinese palaces and tombs, the lions subsequently spread to other parts of Asia including Japan (see komainu), Korea, Philippines, Tibet, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, and Malaysia. (Wikipedia)