On a recent trip to Glasgow, I bought these wee guys in a Chinese supermarket. They are called Shishi, which means Stone Lion. Sometimes they are called Imperial Guardian Lions, Chinese Guardian Lions or Foo Dogs in the West. It is common to see them in front of important buildings such as temples, Imperial Palaces, Government buildings etc. They are also classed as a kind of status symbol because they are traditionally carved from marble or granite or sometimes even cast in bronze or iron. The rich and famous often place them outside their homes as a symbol of their social status or wealth. Mine are of slightly more modest design and are made from resin. It is common to see Foo Dogs like this in Chinese restaurants, supermarkets and in normal family homes.
There is always a pair of Foo Dogs, a male and a female. The female representing yin and the male yang. The female’s paw restrains a cub whilst the male’s paw sits on top of an embroidered ball. This is to symbolize the female lion protecting the people inside the structure, that the lions protect, and the male protecting the structure itself. Looking in the same direction as the lions, the male should be placed on the left and the female on the right.
These Foo Dogs are placed upon the top of the alter at Yee’s Hung Ga Kung Fu Academy in Inverness. Although we are not a religious organisation, we bow towards the alter at the start and end of every class to show respect for all the masters who have passed on the Hung Ga knowledge through our lineage.
Yee’s are always happy to take on new students, so if you are thinking about getting fit and healthy for the New Year, Hung Ga could be perfect for you. It is great for strengthening the mind as well as the body. Your first class is free so you have nothing to lose. Email or phone to arrange your first class:
email: [email protected]