Imperial Guardian Lion 石獅子

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Dublin Core

Title

Imperial Guardian Lion 石獅子

Subject

Protection, Architectural Ornament

Description

Chinese or Imperial guardian lions are a traditional Chinese architectural ornament.

Date

Han Dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD)

Format

Man-size

Type

Craft

Crafts Item Type Metadata

Crafting Methods

Imperial guardian lions were sculpted from large pieces of granite and marble, or cast from bronze or iron.

Materials

Marble / Granite / Stone / Bronze / Iron

Usage and Application

Supposed to have mystic protective powers, it can be found in front of such places as temples, imperial palaces, government offices or in front of homes of high ranking members of society indicating their financial and/ or social status. Also, it is used as a guardian to protect those with power in society.

Interesting Facts

The lions are always presented in pairs, a manifestation of yin and yang, the female representing yin and the male yang. The male lion has its right front paw on a type of cloth ball simply called an "embroidered ball", which is sometimes carved with a geometric pattern. The female is essentially identical, but has a cub under the left paw, representing the cycle of life.

Symbolically, the female lion protects those dwelling inside (the living soul within), while the male guards the structure (the external material elements).

Collection

Citation

“Imperial Guardian Lion 石獅子,” CCCH9051 Group 64, accessed October 1, 2023, https://learning.hku.hk/ccch9051/group-64/items/show/16.

Output Formats