Archives for posts with tag: lion

P1040756b

 

W440xH300mm, China

The pekingese dogs featured in yesterday’s post is also known as a “shi zi” dog, a lion dog.

Lion, shi zi, is not an animal originated from China, its legendary power and strength has captured the imagination of the people. Though worship for their bravery and power, they are often portrayed as a playful creature.  Looking at the clip of the two lions playing, it seems that the Chinese image of the lion look closer to that of a pekingese dog than the lion itself.  I wonder if shi zi dog (pekingese) would have been bred basing on this traditional image of the shi zi.

Advertisements


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

DIA330xH70mm, China

A lacquer tray of a lion playing with a xiu qiu (a fabric ball), a symbol of blessing from this mythical powerful creature.

The tray is constructed by 8 sections and a flat octagonal size board in the center, held with a wire.  The base of the 8 sections have fine carving painted in gold.

Click here to see our other lacquer trays.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

clay toyW15xL60xH50mm, China

These black colour clay toys are a specialty from the Huai Yang area.  The figurines take on many forms, from domestic animals to monster like creatures, as they began not as toys but saintly totems for worshiping.  The lion was not originated from China, its legends came together with the Buddhism from India.  The lion was not any ordinary wild animal but mystical creature with super power, it was worshiped for its power and its protection.  As time goes by, the idea of the lion totem began to lose sharp, the figurines portray friendly and even cute lions and instead of being an object of worship, they are more like a children’s toy.

 

plate

DIA150xH20mm, China

To celebrate the victory of  Germany winning the World Cup, here a plate with the lion playing with a xiu qiu.

The composition of the lion playing with the ball is a traditional blessing pattern.  The lion being nonnative in China was a mystical creature, not only is it the symbol of power and strength, it is also the carrier of the Manjusri Bodhisattva.    Lions sculptures are often found outside buildings as the guard against evils.  Here is the legend of how this supreme creature start getting addicted playing with balls; during the Southern and Northern dynasty, there is a general named Zong Que who was in a losing battle.  Zong thought of a way to breaking out of the surrounding enemy, he had the soldier build a figure of the lion, put on a mask and dressed in yellow fur, from a distance the enemy thought the lion has arrived and flee, enabling Zong’s army to escape from the situation.  The army celebrated  with the local villages and the tradition went on, to humanize the lion more movements were added as well as the xiu qiu ball.  The pattern of the lion and the xiu qiu is a blessing of strength and energy.

Click here to see our other items of the lion and the xiu qiu.

iron lion

L170xW90xH170mm, China

Lions, perhaps not being a native animal in China, were considered as mythical creatures, protector and even made to be carriage of Bodhisattva Manjusri.

Chinese lions are often portrayed playing the xiu qiu, symbolizing harmony and joy.
However, does lion really enjoy playing balls like a cat …

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALion CarvingOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
L580xW140xH360mm, L620xW150xH340mm, China

A pair or lions; the lion playing with the xiu qiu is a male and the other with the cub is a lioness.

These pair of wood carving is part of an architectural element, in fact it is part of the bracket that hold up the beam in traditional Chinese architecture.  This highly decorative architectural / structural elements are found in the south, in larger building such as ancestral homes.

In the building the lions would have been view with their tails on the upper part and their heads at the bottom, as in the photo below.

beam carving

lacquer buddha on lotusW270xD180xH600mm, China

This is an old lacquer figurine of the Gautama Buddha.  He is sitting on a lotus blossom which symbolizes purity of the mind and body.  Though the lotus is rooted from the mud, its leaves naturally repel dirt and water, its blossom raises well above the muddy pool.  Under the lotus blossom sits a lion; lions are symbolic of bodhisattvas, being that have attained enlightenment.

The hand gesture of the Buddha indicating the banishing of evils (karana) and the gesture of leisure (avakasha).

At the back of the figurine is a secret compartment for storing scripts.

kirin

W100xD50xH100mm, China

Chinese figurine of the lion are more often friendly and friendly rather then fierce, this might be because there are no lions originated from China.  The image of lion was brought to China by word of mouth from traders of the Western Region, as a tribute from Persia to the Emperor and as the symbolic “suan ni” from the Buddhist culture.  The worship of lion is thus mainly as a mystic protection of evil rather than the fierce forceful animal.

Black glaze pottery was first developed in China as early as the Jin dynasty (400 A.D.), it was a popular glazing in the Tong and Sung dynasty and further refined in the Qing dynasty.

Bodhisattva Manjusri on Lion

L460xD180xH650mm, China

This antique lacquer figurine is that of the Bodhisattva Manjusri (文殊菩薩).  Bodhisattva Manjusri and Maitreya are the often depicted with the Gautama Buddha with Manjusri on the left and Maitreya on his right, representing wisdom and teaching receptively.

Mantra of Manjushri

The creature Bodhisattva Manjusri is riding is a green lion (suan ni), the 8th son of the dragon.  He adores the incense and sitting so you will also be able to find him as a decoration for the feet of the incense burner.

Medicine Bottles

H90xD50xW30, China

Two two lion with pup figurines are in fact bottles for medicine.  The traditional Chinese medicine apart from the bitten tea, also comes in small pills and powder form.  Judging by the size of the opening they would have been used to hold medicinal powder.  Personally I find the powder form to be quite nasty, they tend to stick to your throat and the unpleasant taste lingered on for ages.  I suppose these sweet looking bottles will help the patients take the medicine.

get well soonHere is the modern way of what thoughtful doctors do …