Circa 1900


The mythical creature with large ears, the muscles on its back clearly showing by engraved tufts of fur, with a pup to her side.


L. approx. 4.7 cm

Private collection, United Kingdom
With us, pre-2021


Shishi, or Chinese guardian lions, or imperial guardian lions, are a traditional Chinese architectural ornament. Typically made of stone, they are also known as stone lions or shishi (石獅; shíshī). They are known in colloquial English as lion dogs or foo dogs/fu dogs. The concept, which originated and became popular in Chinese Buddhism, features a pair of highly stylized lions - often one male with a ball and one female with a cub - which were thought to protect the building from harmful spiritual influences and harmful people that might be a threat. Used in imperial Chinese palaces and tombs, the lions subsequently spread to other parts of Asia including Japan, Korea, Philippines, Tibet, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, and Malaysia.

Netsuke of a Karashishi Lion with cub