W50xL120xH50mm, China

Its really a surprise to find this tin toy, it is intriguing in a couple of sense.  First, thought China has been a major manufacturer or tin toy since the 1920s, the design of the toy has broadly based on the original western themes (robots, cars, ships, objects which for the Chinese would have been deemed western).  This toy, a lion, has departed from the normal tin toy design.  For those who has seen a lion (photo, on telly, zoo or safari) would have said that this look at best a silly green monster and nothing like a lion at all.  This however has all the features a Chinese lion would have.

Now for the second surprise; there are no lions in China (not naturally there).  The idea of lion come together with Buddhism as an animal of power, the lion is as mythical as the kirin.  Since there are no lions, the Chinese do not see it as a predictor but as a protector against evil.  They can be seen guarding the front doors, on the ridge of a building, lion dances for New Year.  So fond of it that the male lion will normally been given a xiu qiu to play with.

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