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A little bit about “石狮子” ("stone lion")


骏马的丕沿🤯
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骏马的丕沿🤯

Recently got a pair of miniature 石狮子 as a gift, so I felt like sharing, haha.

 

石狮子 is what's called a 中国传统文化中辟邪物品 (an item from traditional Chinese culture that wards off "evil"). They're essentially big, stone "lion" statues, and can be found in temples, gardens, palaces, forbidden cities, bridges, and other such places.

 

Actually, 石狮子 are not actually stone "lions," but are rather stone "狮," in the traditional sense. In old Chinese folktale, there is a mythical creature called 狮, which looks somewhat similar to the more well-known 麒麟. In modern times, though, 狮 has come to also mean "lion," which is why some people translate “石狮子” into "stone lion." (and, for some reason, there are others who translate the “狮子” in “石狮子” to "dog"!)

 

Here's a wikipedia excerpt:

 

Chinese or Imperial guardian lions are a traditional Chinese architectural ornament. Typically made of stone, they are also known as stone lions or shishi (石獅、shíshī). They are known in colloquial English as lion dogs or foo dogs/fu dogs. The concept, which originated and became popular in Chinese Buddhism, features a pair of highly stylized lions—often one male with a ball and one female with a cub—which were thought to protect the building from harmful spiritual influences and harmful people that might be a threat. Used in imperial Chinese palaces and tombs, the lions subsequently spread to other parts of Asia including Japan (see komainu), Korea, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, and Malaysia.

 

石獅子雕刻獅子形狀的石頭,是在中國文化中經常使用的一種裝飾物。受中國文化影響地區的宮殿寺廟佛塔橋樑府邸園林、陵墓,以及印鈕上都會看到它。

石獅石獅子一詞在更多時候,是指放在建築物大門口兩側的一對獅子造像,而其材質便不單限於石材,亦有以水泥[1]加鋼筋或玻璃纖維製成的獅子,甚或金屬所製,於此意義上都曾統稱為「石獅子」。

中式傳統石獅造型不同於今日所見之獅子,可能是因中國自古不產獅子,雕塑者無從描摹;但也有說法是西域獅與非洲獅體態不同的緣故;或是石獅作用為鎮守化煞視為瑞獸,具誇張神異而踏球含珠。近代則有寫實造像之石獅子作為大門裝飾。

 

Below are some pictures, consisting of real-life 石狮子, and the miniature ones that I got! (unnecessary details: the 狮 on the right (the one holding the cub) is the female, and the 狮 on the left (the one holding the ball) is the male)

 

b219ebc4b74543a9462bf8da1d178a82b90114f7.jpeg

 

55e736d12f2eb938f98c5c78db628535e4dd6f52.jpeg

 

WechatIMG329.jpeg

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