Dogs are the ancient sacred dogs of Asia who guard Buddhist
association between these dogs and Buddha is one of great
Dogs have the appearance of a lion.
The lion in Buddhist religion is seen as sacred, and
has sometimes been offered to Buddha as a sacrifice.
The name given to these guardians originates from
Chinese word for Buddha is Fo, which led to the original
“Dog of Fo”.
There have been other theories that the name
developed from the city of Foochow; however, there is no
actual proof of this. Another
name given to the beast is “Lion of Korea”.
This, of course, is due to the creatures close
appearance to a Lion.
Foo Dogs can
be traced as early as the Han Dynasty.
Their first appearance was in Chinese art, which
dates back to approximately 208 BC to about 221 AD.
Foo Dogs vanished for nearly 400 years after their
first appearance. They
later returned in the T’ang Dynasty that
was in power from 618 to 917 AD.
Foo Dogs were popular because of their meaning. The
Lion is a creature of the feline race that is known as the
proud master of all cats. Its introduction into Chinese art coincided with Buddhism.
The Foo Dog was the protector of sacred buildings and
a defender of law. The
dogs were commonly placed at business institutions, temple
gates, home entrances, and estates.
It was also not uncommon to see these sacred dogs
guarding tombs or placed in front of government buildings to
scare evil spirits. Through out the ages, Foo Dogs were
frequently given as gifts to the Emperor.
They would be presented in sculptures or in the form
artwork varied. Buddha
was sometimes depicted on the back of the great beast, but
Foo Dogs are more often displayed in a powerful guarding
creature is usually presented holding a spear in its paw.
This was the representation of the peace and serenity
the animal would maintain for the sanctuary it was guarding;
thus discouraging any wrong doers and demon spirits from
entering the place of tranquility.
The Foo Dog comes in many shapes, sizes, different
materials, and colors.
Their faces have a mischievous and almost devilish
look about them; and their eyes are normally wide open with
a tiny speck in the middle.
This threatening appearance is what gives the idea
that they guard against evil spirits.
It is important to point out that the Foo Dog is also
known as the Celestial Dog, and the Happiness Dog.
The animal is a symbol of energy and value, and is often
displayed in a male/female pair.
The male plays with a ball that symbolizes the Earth,
while the female holds a cub.
Dog is embodied in rich Chinese history and tradition. They are still very popular today, not only in China, but
also in other parts of the world.
They are fantastic dogs not only infused with artwork
– but with meaning.