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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chinese lions

There's something about Chinese guardian lions that fascinates me. I like the fact they're also called lions of Buddha or fu lions. They have a classic kind of grace, settling onto the street with a kind of weary optimism.

I took this picture at the entrance to Chinatown this week - above the lions (they always come in pairs) is a beautifully crafted gateway - colorful and tall. The contrast is lovely - the solid, dense lions and the towering, light gateway.

Did you know that these lions always come in pairs, the male playing with a ball (this represents the flower of life), the female with a cub (the cycle of life)? The imagery is as gorgeous as the lions themselves.

These lions are very auspicious, guarding palaces and homes and stores and even Chinatowns throughout the world. There are no actual lions in China but as Buddhism travelled from India to China, they brought with them the idea of the Asiatic lion. That's what these lions are based on.

I find it somehow comforting to know that you can find these lions anywhere in the world - you can buy small ones for your desk, larger ones for your front porch. I suspect if you wanted you could even buy giant ones if you had a giant gate into your property. That's what I would do.


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