The lion was a common theme in ancient China, from tombs and imperial palaces to statues and sculptures of deity. The use of lions in these settings spread to other parts of Asia, including Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, and Laos.
Ancient chinese lions with deity
The first lion sculptures appeared in China during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), and the lion was closely associated with the Buddhist religion. It was also associated with the imperial court of India, where the lion deity was worshiped as Shakyamuni. Throughout history, lions were associated with royalty and were depicted on lion thrones and as a pet. This lion imagery humanized the fierce animal.
Lions were often presented in pairs. The male lion guards the material world, while the female guards the yin-yang equilibrium. The male has its right front paw on an “embroidered ball”, while the female is resting her paw on a cub. The two lions have the same basic appearance, but each one has a different purpose. The female lion protects the home and protects those living inside it, while the male guards the material world.
Compared to the earlier generation, Qing stone lions are more mythical and dog-like. The manes are long and floppy, and the ears are curled downward. In addition, Qing stone lions were known for being less fierce and more docile.
The lion’s appearance reflects many cultural and religious influences. It was first used as a symbol of the Buddha’s dharma and was then incorporated into Buddhist art. By the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the lion became a regal guardian of the dharma. In this period, the lion’s role in Buddhism increased, and the lion was often depicted in cave temples along the Silk Route.
Foo lions are based on Asiatic lions and are often stone or bronze. They feature bulging eyes and curly fur, as well as wide-open roars. These lions are also often depicted in pairs. This is because they are said to represent the yin and yang.
Ming dynasty lions
Lions were used as guardian statues in tombs and imperial palaces in Ming dynasty China. The lions’ popularity spread from China to Japan, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, and Tibet. They were also used in Cambodia, Laos, and Nepal.
Lions were typically presented in pairs. The female lion represented yin and the male represented yang. A male lion was portrayed with his right front paw on an embroidered ball, while a female lion was shown with her left paw on a cub. The female lion symbolized life’s cycle and protected those living inside while the male lion guarded external material elements.
Tibetan bronze of Lha-Mo
The Tibetan bronze of Lha-Mo is a powerful piece of Buddhist art, displaying the ferocious qualities of the feminine deity. It is a striking figure, surmounted on a base and using a flayed human skin as a saddle. This depiction of the Buddhist goddess is based on a Tibetan interpretation of the Indian Goddess Shridevi. This goddess was opposed to the king’s practice of human sacrifice, and she was said to have turned the king’s arrow into an eye.
Tibetan bronzes also depict the dharmapalas, fierce protectors of the law and the faith. Among the Eight Guardians of the Dharma, the only female is Penden Lhamo (also called Shri Devi). She is considered to be the spiritual protector of Tibetans and her images grace many thangkas.
The Tibetan bronze of Lha-Mo represents Palden Lhamo, a dark blue goddess who is the protector of Buddhism and a female companion of Mahakala. The first Dalai Lama named her the Dharma protector of the Garden, and she is a special protector of the Dalai Lamas.
Qing dynasty Foo Dogs
This antique Chinese bronze lion with deity and QING dynasty foo dogs is a beautiful and impressive piece. This lion, known in Chinese as Shi or Foo Dogs, was a symbol of protection and strength, appearing at the threshold of Buddhist temples and government offices. They have also been used to decorate wealthy homes and are believed to carry mythic powers.
These dogs were originally used to guard tombs and government buildings and are believed to ward off evil spirits. They were often gifted to the Emperor as gifts. They were often found on public display in sculptures and paintings, as well. They were also considered a sign of good fortune and luck.
Chinese guardian lions, or foo dogs, are decorative statues of the Asiatic lion. They protect the buildings they guard and have been used for centuries as a symbol of good fortune and prosperity. These statues are still used today to guard government offices, temples, and imperial palaces.
Ancient lions were sculpted in many different styles. The Ming and Qing dynasty lions are more stylized and mythical, whereas their Northern counterparts are more dog-like. In many cases, they have a curled tongue, which is characteristic of a dog.
Lions represent power and strength, as well as the masculine will to power. Lions are commonly depicted in pairs. In the most traditional representations, the male lion has one paw resting on a ball embroidered with a geometric pattern. It is said to protect a building or grounds and protect it from evil spirits.