Chinese Kangxi Pair of Blanc de Chine Buddisth Lions or Foo Dogs, 17th Century

Well modelled pair of Chinese Blanc de Chine Foo dogs dating around 1680 and richly ornate. Overall in good condition, no restoration: one has a small chip in the inner side of the base, a small chip at the top of the joss stick holder and tiny chips on the tail. Beautiful model, considerably more detailed than most.

Size:H 18 cm x W 7.5 cm x D 9 cm

Blanc de Chine Foo dogs were made in the provincial kilns of Dehua in Fujian province. There are very many versions, all of which are rather similar but really following the same basic model. Technically the production didn`t change much either, on the whole the earlier models have more hand-working. Foo Dog: When Buddhist priests, or possibly traders, brought stories to China about stone dogs guarding the entry to Indian Buddhist temples, Chinese sculptors modelled statues after native dogs for use outside their temples. The mythic version of the animal, was known as the Dog of Foh, the word Foh being Chinese for Buddha. The Buddhist version of the dog was originally introduced to Han China as the protector of dharma and these dogs have been found in religious art as early as c.200 BC. Gradually they were incorporated as guardians of the Chinese Imperial dharm. However, Chinese sensitivity metamorphosed the dog into a lion, even though lions were not indigenous to China, since this seems more appropriate to the dignity of an emperor when he used the beasts to guard his gates. The mythic dog is sometimes associated with feng shui, and are often called Fu Dogs. Fu means `happiness` in Chinese; however, the term `Fu Dog` and its variant Foo Dog, are not used in Chinese. Instead, they are known as Rui Shi (`auspicious lions`) or simply Shi (lions). There are various styles of imperial guardian lions reflecting influences from different time periods, imperial dynasties, and regions of China. These styles vary in their artistic detail and adornment as well as in the depiction of the lions from fierce to serene.

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