by Jennifer Emmer, of Feng Shui Style
Clients often ask me, "What is the deal with those strange little dogs?"
Fu Dogs (Also know as guardian lions, lion dogs, or temple lions) are common decorative and symbolic elements at the entrances to restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and other structures. They are found in China, at Chinese establishments, and "Chinatowns" in the U.S. and elsewhere. The Fu Dogs are actually lions, but since lions didn't exist in China, they were originally modeled after dogs.
|Known as Rui Shi (Lucky Lions)|
|"Fu" refers to Buddha|
|"Fu" also means good luck|
These leonine hulks have been guarding Chinese Imperial palaces, emperor’s tombs, and large government buildings since the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).
Juliet Bredon described them as “semi-mythical monsters, carved in stone, cast in bronze or fashioned in cloisonné” in Juliet Bredon's Peking, published in 1920.
As Buddhism was spread in China by traveling Buddhist priests and monks from India, they brought with them stories about the stone lions who guarded the entrances to Indian temples & monasteries.
Chinese sculptors modeled lion statues after native dogs (compare the Chow Chow, Pekingese, Shi Tzu, Shar-Pei, Pug, etc.) for use outside their temples and palaces, since no one in ancient China had ever seen a real lion before.
The lions are always presented in pairs, with the male on the left and the female on the right. The male lion has his right paw on a globe, representing his "feeling the pulse of the earth". The female is essentially identical, but has a single cub under her left paw, representing the cycle of life. They represent "Yin" and "Yang" and must appear together, for their protection to work.
They should be placed near the main entrance of your home or office, looking out the front door. They can be either on the inside or outside of the house, but better on the outside. It is imperative that they are looking out away from the door!!!
- The male lion, holding a globe under his left or right paw should be placed on the left side, as you are looking out of the door.
- The female lion, holding a cub under her right or left paw is placed on the right side, as you are looking out the door.
Fu Dogs are traditionally carved from stone, such as marble and granite or cast in bronze or iron. Because of the high cost of these materials and labor, they were traditionally reserved for wealthy or elite families. Luckily, today, with our ability to mass produce them in concrete, resin, and ceramics, the Fu Dogs have become available for everyone.
Symbolically, the female Fu lion protects those dwelling inside, while the male guards the structure.
Some 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.
For folks who would rather have "classic" lions flanking their entrances, this is just as good.
To learn about how to pump up all the areas of your life, visit our website at Feng Shui Style