Fine Japanese art and tea implements

Pair of Chinese Stone Guardian Lions, (B)


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Chinese: Sculpture: Pre 1900: Item # 1309261

Please refer to our stock # TRC1552 when inquiring.
Kyoto Ceramics and Fine Art
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Kamigamo District
Kyoto, Japan


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In China, the first mention of the Japanese Archepelago was in the historic text Book of Later Han, written in the year 57 AD. From that time forward, a great flow of Chinese cultural objects and ideas made their way to Japan—greatly influencing future developments there. This flow continued unabated until reaching a fevered pitch during the Chinese cultural revolution when—under Maoist reform—untold cultural relics and artifacts were destroyed by officials and enthusiastic supporters of the revolution. In an attempt to save what could be saved, boat-loads of precious items departed China bound mainly for Taiwan and Japan. Therefore, to this day Chinese art collectors are known to visit Japan (and Kyoto in particular) in the hopes of purchasing Chinese antiques that have made their way to these shores.

In light of this history, from time-to-time we like to list antiques of Chinese origin such as this pair of guardian lions (sold as a set but listed individually to include more photos). Guardian lions (alternately known as Foo-dogs, or Koma-inu and Shishi in Japan) are commonly seen in pairs. The male is typically depicted with a spherical globe under-foot symbolizing dominion over the world. The female by contrast is depicted with a smaller lion under-foot—the smaller lion being a child that she is trying to keep out of mischief. They are considered auspicious symbols of wealth, status, and good fortune.

This male foo-dog is made of stone and weighs over 8 kilograms. It stands nearly 30 cm tall, is roughly 28 cm long, and is 18 cm at its widest point. The age is unknown but it appears to be from early to mid Edo. International shipping via EMS is included in the price.