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Chinese Foo Dog Statues

Chinese foo dog, foo lion, or guardian lion statues can often be seen in pairs guarding the entrance to a household, or as small figures within the interior of a room. Foo dogs are inspired by the majestic lion, but were often compared to the lion-like appearing dog breeds: Chow-Chow and Shih Tzu.

Foo dogs are meant to be guardians that ward off evil and ill fortune. Traditionally used as guardians of palaces and imperial households, the rank of the official to whom the statue guarded was discernable by the number of curls on the foo dog’s head. The lesser the rank, the fewer the curls.

While foo dog statues might appear as individual statues, more often they come in pairs. One statue usually represents the male and one the female. One is the yang, and the other is the yin. The male yang is usually depicted with a wide-open mouth and playing with a round sphere representative of the earth. The female yin is shown with a small cub and a closed mouth. Together, they are a sacred Buddhist symbol believed to protect both exterior and interior of the home.


Quick Facts

  • The male foo dog’s open mouth and the female’s closed mouth represent the Buddhist sacred sound, “om”
  • In Chinese, these statues are never actually referred to as dogs. They are actually called “shi-shi," meaning “stone lion”
  • When you have a pair of foo dog statues, the traditional placement requires the female with the cub to be on the left and the male with the earth sphere to be on the right

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Sellers Who Sell Chinese Foo Dog Statues


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Merces Gallery LLC

Merces Gallery LLC

Eldred's

Eldred's

Greenwich Auction

Greenwich Auction