Foo Dogs – Chinese Guardian Lions
The Chinese will most often refer to them as Shi which means lion. In Japan Foo dogs are known as Komainu.
Foo Dogs Meaning
Foo dogs which are placed inside or outside a building are meant to protect your home or workplace from negative energy. It is said these guardian lions will stop anyone with malicious intensions from entering your home.
It could for example be envious people or people looking to bad mouth you in any way. It could also be people who crush your dreams and plans for a better future with their comments. Their intentions may be good, but their negative concerns could set you back or even worse make you give up on your dreams.
Foo dogs are a reminder to keep all negative energy away from the home.
Many offices, shops, hotels and restaurants may place these Chinese guardian lions outside on either side of the entrance. They are believed to protect their business. They are meant to attract happy and satisfied customers and keep trouble makers away.
The Chinese Guardian Lions are a symbol of power and protection. They can be found in all countries where the Chinese have settled. Westerners have adopted this protection symbol. They are now housed in thousands of homes. Foo dogs are sold in all sizes to fit everyone’s need.
Why are they called Foo dogs?
Foo dogs may refer to the Chinese word Fó referring to Buddha or Fu which means blessing and prosperity. Fu is a very auspicious word in Chinese.
It seems some thought these stone lions resembled the Chow Chow dogs and started calling them dogs instead of lions. That really caught on and they are widely known as Foo dogs or Fu dogs.
Always Have Two Foo Dogs
Foo dogs should always be displayed in pairs. You need one male and one female Foo dog. This has to do with harmony and completeness.
This is to keep balance; the Yin and Yang. The female and male complement each other.
Always keep the two together. Never place them in separate rooms.
Traditionally it is said that the male should be placed on the right side of the building and the female on the left side. That would be when you stand outside and look towards the entrance. Standing inside and looking out you should find the male on your left and the female on your right.
I have found the placement of the male and female is not an absolute rule. In so many places opposite placements occur. Quite often you will find the male on the left when standing outside looking towards the building.
The conclusion must be that the placement is not of utter importance. The important thing is to always have a male and a female working together for complete protection.
The male Foo dog can be recognized as the one resting his paw on the ball which may represent the world.
The male is Yang. He protects everything outside.
He is protector of the building itself.
He is power and supremacy.
The female Foo dog is shown with one paw on a cub. She protects everything inside the home or house.
The female is the one who also protects the people who reside or work in the house.
She is the Yin.
She represents compassion and support.
The Guardian Lions go back a long time and have been used in China since the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). They were used to protect temples and other important buildings. They were often placed outside of the homes of authorities.
In the Forbidden City in Beijing you will several pairs of Chinese Guardian Lions watching over the grounds and buildings.