Antique Lacquer and Gilt Pair of Fu Lions, China (16556ZOK) $395


H: 5.75″  W: 3.25″  D: 2.75″ | FREE SHIPPING

Each of this whimsical gold and red-burgundy lacquered pair of male fu lions sits erect on a high pedestal heads thrown back with flaring ears and  bulging eyes, decorative stylized manes and a small bushy tail. Their spirituality is displayed by the pair silently emitting the blessed mantra “aum”: the open mouthed lion forming an “au,” and the other completing it with a closed mouth to form “mmm.” The workmanship on these pieces is masterful, although rustic and provincial, and they are rare with their Buddhist symbolism and because most pairs of carved fu lions were lost during China’s modernization.




During the Ming and Qing dynasties fu-lion images were especially popular in smaller versions used in private homes on a home altar, as free-standing decorative Buddhist statues, and as designs on furniture and architectural elements and incorporated into utilitarian objects like candlestick holders, bed posts, and furniture legs to bring blessings of fu and prosperity. In the Buddhist tradition, they remind us that all sentient beings should live in peace and with compassion. Despite being protective guardians, small fu lions were often portrayed as more friendly than fierce. These gold and red lacquer coated sejant fu lions are whimsically portrayed with heads cast upwards, flaring ears, and bulging eyes. Incised lines of their manes cover their heads, backs, and leg backs and ribbons are draped around their necks over a long strand of fur reaching their high pedestals. Carved from one piece of wood, they are covered in auspicious colors: gold reflecting their “golden sable color like a lion” and red associated with fu. Fu lions were mostly presented as a pair with a male and a female, but here both are male as indicated by their curved front paws resting on a ball which is said to represent the moon pearl symbolizing blessings, the sun which is yang, or the “flower of life.”  These carvings were created by a provincial artisan who took great liberties in depicting these mythical animals.  One has an open mouth, the other a closed mouth, usually seen in a pair with a male and a female. The symbolic portrayal is an artistic liberty, since in sacred Buddhist images, the male and female together silently emit the blessed mantra “aum”: the male begins with his mouth open forming an “au,” and the female completes it with her closed mouth  to form “mmm.” Fu lions are frequently used in fend shui to balance the positive and negative energy (chi) of their environment and should be placed together in one central location.The workmanship on these pieces is masterful, although rustic and provincial, and they are in excellent condition given their age and use with some damage to one base. Antique wood fu lions are rare, especially in pairs as most were lost during China’s modernization. These are part of the VA Collection of Buddhist-Art.




Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 9 × 6 in
Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


19th Century

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 5.75" W: 3.25" D: 2.75"

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 14.61cm Width: 8.25 cm Depth: 6.98 cm


Excellent, See Descripton


1lb 6oz

Item Number

16556 ZOK

Shipping Box Size