Antique Carved Lacquered Pair of Fu Lions on Pedestals, China (19074ASE)


H: 12″  D: 7″  D: 7.75″

This very fine pair of antique carved males fu lions represents the dual nature of these mythical animals: as protective images they are powerful and fierce, as Buddhist images they are whimsical with smiling faces, dangling tongues, hanging ears and bushy tails. They are extremely well carved with harnesses and bells around their necks, detailed manes and tails on high intricately decorated bases to signal their importance. Perfect for enhancing feng shui in a home or office, large finely decorative wood pairs like this are extremely hard to find.


While larger stone fu-lions pairs protected imperial and government buildings and rich residences, carvers in provincial areas took great liberties depicting these mythical-animals. During the Ming and Qing dynasties fu-lions were especially popular in smaller versions and used in homes and gardens as free-standing statues, images on furniture and architectural designs and as decorative motifs on textiles, wood, clay and leather pieces as harbingers of prosperity. Whimsical versions were incorporated in functional objects like candlestick holders, bed posts, furniture legs, weights and garden accessories as decorative and protective figures and to bring luck and the blessings of fu: longevity, riches, good health and peace, virtue and a natural death. Although generally depicted as a male and female, smaller pairs may be two males with bells,  orbs and symbols of prosperity. In the Buddhist tradition, although they are guardian figures, these more personal images were often portrayed as more friendly than fierce with engaging faces and fanciful poses. They also remind us that all sentient beings should live in peace and with compassion. Frequently used in feng shui to balance energy (chi), they are recommended to be placed near or opposite the front door or on a small table to protect the home or office. This antique-Chinese-wood-carving is a pair of males painted in red (the color of fu) covered with lacquer and wearing harnesses and bells around their necks. They are sejant with a foot resting on an orb on high, intricately decorated plinths with a lotus image on each side and covered with a ritual cloth to signal their importance. The lions’ power and ferocity are expressed in strong stances, open mouths with sharp teeth, bulging eyes, long-clawed feet and their sheer massiveness. Their whimsical nature is expressed in their smiling mouths, friendly hanging tongues, ears resting downward and a general docile pose. This folk-art pair is in excellent condition except for chips on the hair and base of one figure.  Since they were originally Buddhist images, they are part of the VA Spiritual-and-Inspirational Collection of Buddhist-Art.


Additional information

Weight 8.5 lbs
Dimensions 3.75 × 14 × 12 in
Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


19th Century

Materials and Technique

Wood, polychrome, lacquer

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 12" W: 7" D: 7.75"

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 30.48cm W: 17.78cm D: 9.52cm


Excellent, minor scratches/paint losses consistent with age and use, no restorations/repairs

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size