Chinese Door Lions

There is a splendid catheral in Salerno in Southern Italy. Liudmila's post on Dom of Salerno in Campania, Italy most probably refers to this catheral which is dedicated to St. Mathew. A pair of lions at the church's door rather surprise me (inset). Placing a pair of lion statues outside the door has always been popular with the Chinese. The practice is said to have originated from the Hokkiens of Fujian province in Southern China but if you were the visit Beijing in northern China, the palaces and temples have these lion statues, too. Today, these lion statues can be seen decorating the door of big institutions like banks, hotels and restaurants. Unlike the two Salerno lions which just sit passively, the Chinese door lion on the right would always be a male and would be playing with a silk ball while that on the left would always be a female and would be playing with a baby lion. The lions should also be well endowed and have pleasant smiling faces as they signify auspiciousness. They are also use to ward of sha qi in Feng Shui practices, sha qi, here, I suppose could be translated into negative forces that disrupt our good fortunes...

Now, which is male and which is female?




Comments

Liudmila said…
:-0 My photo looks much more interesting in Your post! It is so interesting what you write about the meaning of these symbols. I did not know it. Now go to tell about it to my friends!
footiam said…
Stolen photos are more beautiful!

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