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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

Recommended Items at Auction

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Pair of Chinese Marble Foo Dogs Sculptures
Jun 27, 2:00 PM EDT
Pair of Chinese Marble Foo Dogs Sculptures
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Jun 29, 10:00 AM MST
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A PAIR OF CHINESE TRI-COLOR FIGURE OF LIONS
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Chinese enamel decorated silver foo dog figurines. Mid 20th century. 3.75in high.
Jun 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Chinese enamel decorated silver foo dog figurines. Mid 20th century. 3.75in high.
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Jul 10, 10:00 AM EDT
AUSTIN PRODUCTIONS Vntg Ceramic Foo Dog 22 In
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Jun 29, 11:00 AM EDT
Chinese Carved Wood Group Foo Dog with Pup
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Jun 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Pair Chinese Turquoise Glaze Ceramic Foo Dogs, H: 14 in. (35.6 cm.)
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Est: $30- $50
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A Vintage Indochinese Carved Timber & Polychrome Foo Dog
Jun 30, 11:00 AM AEST
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Est: AUD60- AUD120
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Important Chinese carved agate temple Fu Dog, Late Qing Dynasty
Jun 22, 11:00 AM EDT
Important Chinese carved agate temple Fu Dog, Late Qing Dynasty
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Chinese antique bronze dog, Taoist mythology, Qing dynasty
Jun 22, 11:00 AM EDT
Chinese antique bronze dog, Taoist mythology, Qing dynasty
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Chinese Foo Dog Guardian Lion Bronze Sculpture
Jun 24, 9:00 PM EDT
Chinese Foo Dog Guardian Lion Bronze Sculpture
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Jun 24, 10:00 AM CEST
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Est: €0- €0
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A FINE CAST IRON MADE LION STATUE
Jun 22, 10:00 AM EDT
A FINE CAST IRON MADE LION STATUE
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Exquisite Chinese Tibetan Silver Hand Carved Foodog
Jun 26, 9:00 PM EDT
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Jun 26, 9:00 PM EDT
Pair of Jade Imperial Guardian Lions
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Paar Foo Hunde,
Jul 04, 10:00 AM CEST
Paar Foo Hunde,
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A CHINESE TANG-STYLE MARBLE LION, 19/20TH C.
Jul 02, 9:00 AM CEST
A CHINESE TANG-STYLE MARBLE LION, 19/20TH C.
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Sellers Who Sell Chinese Foo Dog Statues


Weatherham Estate Treasures

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Subastas Segre

Subastas Segre

Claydon Auctioneers

Claydon Auctioneers

Eternity Gallery

Eternity Gallery