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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fu Dogs?

In my previous post  "Upside Down Fortune", bloggy pally Lin @ Duck And Wheel With String asked, "Veronica, I've heard of Fu Dogs....how is Fu connected with them??"

I've never heard of "Fu Dogs" until Lin mentioned them!  Neither has my all-knowing aunt nor my mom-in-law! Or my Malaysian Chinese friends! I even asked my son's Chinese teacher and she was just as clueless!  Finally, an American Chinese cousin explained that a "Fu Dog" is actually a Chinese guardian LION! Chinese guardian lions, known as Shishi or Imperial Guardian Lions, are  INCORRECTLY called "Fu Dogs" in the West. Chinese reference to the guardian lion is seldom prefixed with " Fu" (佛 or 福), and more importantly never referred to as "dogs". In other words, "Fu dog" is a misnomer.

Over here, on our side of the pond, I have seen these majestic lions guarding the entrances of Chinese offices, temples, hotels, malls, etc. but never quite knew the symbolic elements they stood for until today. I had always thought they were merely ornamental.

Sharing what I've just learnt.

Traditionally made from bronze , the lions guarded imperial palaces and temples in China, always in pairs (yin and yang). These sculptures originally served as totems for the elite, due to their cost, but they have been reproduced cheaply and universally in modern times. Interestingly, you can tell the owner's status by the number of bumps (curly hair) on the lion's head - the more the bumps, the higher the owner's rank!

You can also identify the gender of the lion by what’s beneath the paws: the male (yang)  rests its right paw on a ball, symbolizing supremacy over Earth.
image credit -  https://travelinheels.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/shishi-or-chinese-guardian-lions/
The female (yin) has her left paw on a playful cub that is on its back, representing nurture.
image credit - http://talltales.me
Traditionally, the male lion is placed on the right side of a building or dwelling it stands before, and the female will be on the left side. The male of the pair is said to guard the structure, while the female protects the interior of the place and its worshipping believers or inhabitants.

image credit - http://www.houzz.com/
Fu dog ornaments, with their striking, often colorful appearance, have become a favorite of decorators in the West.
image credit - http://decor8blog.com

This week's cookies

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. So cute with the cookie! That was fascinating to read, Veronics. I had seen pictures of the Fu dogs, but didn't know what they represented, very cool!


  2. Well, leave it to me to a) stump the grannies and b) be sooo wrong! ;) We went to a garden tour once and there were grand Fu Dogs(Lions) everywhere. That is where I learned of them.

    Thanks for the info today!

  3. That is so interesting! Thank you for sharing. That cookie is absolutely adorable!!! Have a great day!


  4. how interesting.. i always leave your blog with some new knowledge..

  5. Thank for sharing this lesson. You learn something new everyday. Great cookie!

  6. The Fu dog's are pretty neat looking. I can see why some people would thing they are dogs instead of lions. They kind of look like dogs.

  7. Interesting. Great to know. X

  8. How interesting. You learn something new every day. I will be looking out for these now and for the bumps on their heads to see how important the owners are/were. Thanks for sharing #KCACOLS

  9. Every week your cookies get more amazing! Some really interesting facts too - I love a bit of trivia :) #KCACOLS

  10. wow learn something new everyday! I had never heard of Fu Dogs! and those cookies look so intricate! Thanks for Linking up to #KCACOLS hope to see you back next sunday :) x

  11. Love your pics! I love Fu dogs. Mom used to have them on the fence posts on each side of our driveway but someone stole them even though they had been cemented down. I guess the thief liked them too. If I get a chance, I may get another pair but i don't think I'll put them outside to tempt folks.