Chinese Guardian Lions at Wat Phra Kaew Temple, Bangkok

 

During my trip to the Wat Phra Kaew Temple in Bangkok, I couldn’t help but notice these interesting looking Chinese guardian lions! They are also called Imperial guardian lion or Foo Dogs and are traditionally known in Chinese as Shi.

The history books have mentioned that statues of guardian lions have traditionally stood in front of Temples, Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs and other affluent places. They were believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits.

Chinese lions are also used in other creative contexts, for example in pottery. The lions are usually represented in pairs and the pair would consist of a male resting his paw upon a ball (representing sovereignty over the world) and a female restraining a playful cub that is on its back (representing nurture).

Pairs of guardian lion statues are still common ornamental and symbolic elements at the entrances to temples hotels, restaurants 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 which may explain why they are in Thailand.

Do you fancy one?!

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