Pair of 19th Century Chinese Boxwood Guardian Lion Foo Dogs

19th Century
11cm x 7cm x 17cm
Standard Parcel
£ 225
This item is available to view and buy at:
First Floor
James Pringle Woolen Mill
70-74 Bangor Road
A pair of Chinese guardian lions, also known in English as lion dogs or foo dogs. The male has an embroidered ball or “xiu qiu” under its paw, which signifies protection of its territory and home. The female has a cub, symbolizing strength and protective maternal instincts.
These have been finely carved with glass eyes. The boxwood has a wonderful warm patina. There are no losses, although the male has a couple of age-related cracks.
Foo Dogs feature prominently in ancient Chinese culture. During the Han Dynasty (206 BCE- 220CE) people began placing two lion statues in front of an image of Buddha. Then at the beginning of the Heian period (794-1185 CE) Lion-dog statues began to appear outside of temples and shrines. These statues were meant to honour the Buddha and protect the inhabitants of the site.