Thursday, November 15, 2012


Not me.....Here is a little lesson on Foo (or Fu) Dogs that I found quite informative.

"Imperial guardian lions, also known as "Fu dogs", are powerful mythic protectors that have traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, temples, emperors' tombs, government offices, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) until the end of the empire in 1911. Imperial guardian lions are still common decorative and symbolic elements at the entrances to restaurants, hotels, and other structures.

The lions are traditionally carved from decorative stone such as marble and granite or cast in bronze or iron. Because of the high cost of these materials and the labor required to produce them, private use of Imperial guardian lions was traditionally reserved for wealthy or elite families. Indeed, a traditional symbol of a family's wealth or social status was the placement of Imperial guardian lions in front of the family home. However, in modern times less expensive lions, mass produced in concrete and resin, have become available and their use is no longer restricted to the elite.

The lions are generally present in pairs, with the female on the left and the male on the right. The male lion has his right paw on a globe, which represents his "feeling the pulse of the earth." The female is essentially identical, but has a single cub under her left paw. Symbolically, the female "fu dog" 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.

Interestingly, the lion is not indigenous to China. When Buddhist travelers, probably out to trade, brought stories about lions to China, Chinese sculptors modeled statues of lions after the travelers' descriptions--and after native dogs, since no one in China had seen a lion with his or her own eyes.

The beast is sometimes associated with feng shui or Buddhism. Fu means "happiness" in Chinese, however, the term "Fu Dog" and its variants are not used in Chinese. Instead, they are known as Rui Shi ("auspicious lions") or simply Shi ("lions"). "

Source: via PD on Pinterest


  1. I'm still majorly mourning a pair of foo dogs I passed up on at a flea market trip in Florida this summer. They were only $48 and no tax for the pair. I had no idea about their value! (I've seen them since for over 200). I think I'll regret it forever.
    Nice to learn more about the history though!

  2. I got my cheap turquoise ebay ones a few years back for about $50 and knew they were supposedly good luck, but didn't know the whole male/female thing (mine look just like those yellow ones above). I actually have some Matt brought from China and they do indeed have the globe and cub. So, is the female on their left or our left (as we look at them) I wonder??

    Oh, and you can see one of the actual ones outside the Forbidden City/palace in China here:

  3. Did not know any of this but love the whole protection/happiness aspect.


Thank you for taking the time to comment!! I love hearing from you!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.