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


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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.






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)







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