Stone Lions aka Foo Dogs
Foo dogs are really lions. Behind their aesthetic appeal is a rich history of legend and tradition. The conventional Chinese lion is often called the Dog of Foo (fu is the Chinese word for happiness), and is also known as the Happiness Dog as well as the Celestial Dog. The Foo Dog originated in China with its name deriving from the city of Foochow.
The lion is a special animal to Chinese people. The lion is regarded as the king in the animal world and represents power and prestige. A pair of stone lions, a male and female, can often be seen in front of the gates of traditional buildings. The male lion, always on the left, with his right paw resting on a ball, and the female, always on the right, with her left paw fondling a cub. The ball symbolizes the unity of the empire, and the cub with the female symbolizes thriving offspring.
The stone lions were also used to indicate the ranks of officials by the number of lumps represented by the curly hair on the head of the lion. The houses of first grade officials had lions with 13 lumps and the number of lumps decreased by one as the rank of the official went down each grade. Officials below the seventh grade were not allowed to have stone lions in front of their houses.
It is interesting to note that China had no lions originally. It is believed that when Emperor Zhang of the Eastern Han reigned in AD 87, the King of Parthia presented a lion to him. Another lion was given by a Central Asian country known as Yuezhi in the next year.
The earliest stone lions were sculpted at the beginning of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 -220 AD) with the introduction of Buddhism into ancient China. It is said, Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, was seen after birth "to point to Heaven with one hand and to Earth with another, roaring like a lion." In the Buddhist faith, the lion is considered a divine animal of nobleness and dignity, which can protect the truth and keep out evil.
These beautiful solid marble lucky Foo Dogs are shipped via UPS Ground. Due to the heavy weight of the solid marble, the 2008 shipping/handing cost is $29.00 within the continental U.S. and will be added manually to your online order. Any shipping cost discrepancies produced by the Yahoo store online shipping calculator will be corrected when the order is received by us.