Fu Lion

Also known as fu dogs, foo dogs, lions of fu, or Buddhistic or Buddhist lions, fu lions were originally guardians of the Buddha and admired for their superhuman strength, valor, energy, and as protectors and mounts for religious beings. When Buddhism arrived in China along the Silk Road, lions were protective symbols for Shakyamuni-Buddha, the historical Buddha, and over time became a symbol of the Buddha, Buddhism and the Dharma (Buddhist teachings). Lions shares many traits with the Buddha. The Buddha had the stately gate of a king-lion. His sermons were compared to a lion’s roar which came to represent the wide spread of Buddhist law, the dharma. Buddha Shakyasimha means “lion of the Shakya clan” referring to his father, the king of the Shakya clan. Pairs of male and female stone fu-lions have been placed in front of imperial palaces, tombs, religious structures, government offices and residences of the rich for protection since the Han Dynasty. The male is placed on the east representing yang (male energy) and the female on the west symbolizing yin (female energy). Lions were not native to China, so artisans had to envision how to portray them and created a blend of the Indian lion and the Chinese Pekingese dogs who had “prominent eyes, short noses, and wispy, cloud-like stands of hair floating from their chins, the backs of their forelegs and their heels…” (Elise Mitchell) and that exhibit courage and a fierce temperament. Generally depicted in pairs of male and female, the male’s paw on a ball represents the jewel of the law, the moon pearl symbolizing blessings and the sun while the female’s paw on her pup symbolize protection. The male protects architectural structures, and the female the contents and inhabitants. Sometimes the male is open mouthed and the female close mouthed and a pair’s open mouths means they are silently emitting the blessed mantra “aum” (Mitchell) and Williams says a pair of lions playing with a ball also has that propitious wish. (p. 254) Sometimes they were pairs of males playing with a ball or smaller lone males are a wish for good fortune.

Sources:
Elsie P. Mitchell, The Lion-Dog of Buddhist Asia, Fugaisia, New York, 1991.
Williams, C.A.S.,Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs, Edison, Castle Books, N.D.

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  • Antique Carved Jewelry Box with Auspicious Symbols, China (16000TRK) $325

    $325.00
    H: 6.375″  W: 10.75″  D: 7.125″ FREE SHIPPING!

    This charming carved and lacquered multi-use box opens from the top and has a side drawer with a metal pull. It decorated with auspicious carved symbols as wishes for a good, healthy, prosperous and long life  Carved fu lion heads with flowing manes adorn the front and plum blossoms and a fan adorn the front and frame.  Painted calligraphic poetic phrases refer to a wish for many sons. It probably was a wedding gift to newly weds and would still be great for that purpose.

  • Antique Carved Lacquered Pair of Fu Lions on Pedestals, China (19074ASE) $995

    $995.00
    H: 12″  D: 7″  D: 7.75″ | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

    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.

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

    $395.00
    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.

     

     

  • Antique Lacquered Fu Lion Candle Holder Pair, China (16065BAE) $395

    $395.00
    H: 5.75.”  W: 5”  D: 2.75” | FREE SHIPPING!

    This antique fu lion pair with candle holders arising from their backs look like they sprung from the mind of a Disney artist – they’re whimsical, have exaggerated features, possess a modicum of power, and command our attention while making us smile. In Buddhist traditions, fu lions were more friendly than fierce, with open mouths displaying teeth in a fanciful almost grinning pose. Following artistic traditions: they sit with forefeet on the ground, have thin bodies with rows of hair, a three-part tail, and are covered with auspicious reds and gilt. This endearing, fanciful, quirky, and delightful additions to any environment.

     

  • Antique Lacquered Wood Pair Fu Lion Furniture Bases, China (16735BSE) $595

    $595.00
    H: 4.25″  W: 2″  D: 0.75″ | FREE SHIPPING!

    During the Ming and Qing dynasties, small fu lion pairs were very popular accessories. As protectors of Buddhism, they are both menacing and friendly and this remarkably fanciful pair of crouching beasts joyously reflects both traits, with floppy ears, smiling open mouthed faces with tongues hanging out, and curled tails versus bushy eyebrows, bulging eyes and long pointed nails. As originally decorations on furniture with flat rear sides, they can stand alone as decorative accessories or even be a great pair of bookends. However they are used, they are guaranteed to bring a smile to those who are fortunate to see them on a regular basis.

  • Antique Mazu, Empress of Heaven, China (6003A-BCK) $1050

    $1,050.00
    H: 15.375”  W: 8.625”  D: 7.5” | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

    This Mazu, the protector of sea farers, is portrayed as the imperially sanctioned “Empress of Heaven” seated on an elaborate horseshoe shaped dragon throne, hands clasped symbolically holding a hu tablet, adorned with elegant dragon robes, an official’s girdle, a flat-topped Empress headdress and small feet resting on a pair of gilt fu lions. Meant to be seen from all sides this beautiful carving is decorated on front and back.

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  • Antique Miniature Home Altar With Guanyin Panel, China (19433BCK) $485

    $485.00
    H: 9”  W: 18.5”  D: 5.875” | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

    As a wish for a prosperous and healthy family with many sons, this small table elegant probably was in a young couple’s bedroom to hold small personal statues and store precious items. Guanyin sits a hǒu holding lotuses in the right panel and the left has fertility symbols rats with melons.  It. is perfect for creating a personal home altar and a unique wedding gift.

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  • Antique Pair of Stone Fu Lions, China (17044BOE) $695

    $695.00
    H: 8”  W: 5.5”  D: 3.25” | FREE SHIPPING!

    This is a really great pair of stone small fu lions with lots of character, humor, and detailed carving. Each of these very joyous creatures has open mouthed smiling faces with radiant eyebrows and tufts below their chins, scalloped manes and bushy tails. Carved from one piece of a blackish hard stone they could easily withstand additional wear of the elements in a garden. Pairs of fu lions like this belong in the home of people who appreciate spirituality and wish for happiness and fortune along with a touch of wit and whimsy.

  • Antique Rare 5pc Piece Stoneware Altar Set, Shiwan, China (16901BLKE) $2950

    $2,950.00
    H: 15.25″    W: 24-28 ”    D: 5″ SHIPPING INFORMATION REQUIRED at: 213-568-3030

    This rare apple green glazed Shiwan stoneware altar set contains its original 5 pieces. A censor is at the center, it is flanked by a pair of candlestick holders and vases are at each end. Each elegant piece has coordinated glazes, decorative and structural designs and intricate and well-proportioned features with symbolic wishes for health, wealth, longevity, a virtuous life, a natural death and the fulfillment of all of one’s wishes.

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  • Antique Stone Fu Lion, China (16394JLM) $195

    $195.00
    H: 4.5″  Dia: 3.25″ | FREE SHIPPING

    This hand carved antique stone flu lion is a fun loving benevolent creature as seen in his open mouth with sharp teeth in a fanciful grin with a curled tongue, mischievously twinkling eyes under bushy eyebrows and a compressed rotund body with a very small tail. This is not your refined portrait of an elegant protective beast, it’s just a friendly pet hanging out with you. He probably lived in the garden of a provincial fun-loving family and is looking for a similar environment where people like old wonderful pieces to remind them not to take themselves too seriously.

  • Pair of Antique Fu Lions Holding a Sphere, Frosted Acrylic Stand (16477BKE) $375

    $375.00
    H: 5″    W: 4 ”    D: 2.5 ”  |  FREE SHIPPING!

    Each male lion of this pair holds a symbolic spheres with a carved plum blossom between their paws symbolizing blessings, the sun, earth and a wish the Five Blessings of longevity, health, wealth, a virtuous life and a peaceful death. Likely connected to a woman’s bed  for protection, each is a wish for a successful life with many sons. Each is mounted on a frosted acrylic stand.

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