Buddhist protection amulet, Feng Shui talisman. 8 trigrams (Bagua), guardian lion TongShi on the back. Silver 925, bronze

Buddhist protection amulet, Feng Shui talisman. 8 trigrams (Bagua), guardian lion "TongShi" on the back. Silver 925, bronze


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protection amulet, Feng Shui talisman. 8 trigrams (Bagua), guardian lion "TongShi" on the back. Silver 925, bronze

Rotating plate and zodiac signs also rotating.

It is a symbol of the nature of the spirit. Its round shape symbolizes the Tigle. His ability to think is the unity of clarity and emptiness.

The "Lions-guardians" (石獅/"stone lions"), sometimes called "Fu dogs" (福獅) in the West, are a common representation of the lion in pre-modern China, symbols of protection in the "Feng Shui" philosophy (風水), renowned for attracting happiness and fortune. It is also a protective animal of the "Dharma" (法/"Buddhist law") and sacred buildings, symbolizing peace and prosperity. Presented in pairs, they sit at the entrance of the palaces and the imperial tombs, temples, houses of civil servants (rich dignitaries, nobles or "mandarins" [官]) of the "dynasty of the Han" (漢朝), serving, for the latter, to testify of the social status of the residents. Nowadays, couples of guardian lions are also used ornamently, at the entrance of restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and other buildings.

As early as 208 BC, the Buddhist version of the lion was adopted in China as a protector of "Dharma" and was declined in religious art. Little by little, they were incorporated into Chinese architecture to embody the notions of power and authority by being placed at the entrance of the Imperial buildings and then those of the temples. There are different styles of guardian lions that reflect the influences of different historical, dynastic, and regional periods. These styles vary in their artistic details and the care given to ornaments as well as in expressions, sometimes fierce, sometimes playful. Although the appearance and morphology of the guardian lions were quite varied throughout Chinese history, their appearance and posture eventually became standardized during the "Ming dynasties" (明朝) and "Qing" (清朝) in the form they are known nowadays.

In Japan, these same lions are more commonly known as "ShiShi" (獅子/"Lions"), "Kara shisi" (唐狮子/literally "Lions Tang" or "Lions of China") or "Koma inu" (狛犬/"Korean dogs") introduced in Japan by the Kingdom of "Koryo" (高麗/old Japanese term for de sign the Kingdom of Korea). On the "Okinawa archipelago" (沖縄諸島), there is also a regional variant called "Shisa" (komainu) used in the same way as gargoyles in the West, aiming to repel harmful influences.

In the same way as in China, there is the Koma inu at the entrance to many "Shinto shrines" (神社/"Jinja"), Buddhist temples, noble residences or even private homes. They are divided into two categories: the first, appeared during the "Edo period" (江戸時代), is called "SanDo Koma inu" (参道狛犬), and the second, much older, called "JinNai Koma inu" (陣内狛犬). Designed to keep evil spirits away, these statues resemble those of Chinese lions, with a few details, but retain the symbolism and characteristics of the latter. Indeed, the male has an open mouth, while the female keeps it closed. This tendency, however not of Buddhist origin, has a symbolism attached to the first and last sound of the Sanskrit alphabet. The open-mouthed statue symbolizes the sound "Ah" (阿品台 形/"A-Gyo"/first syllable in Sanskrit), while the one in the closed mouth symbolizes the sound "hum" (吽 形/"UN-Gyo"/last syllable in Sanskrit), both representing the "beginning and end of all things". Together called "a-one" (阿吽), they form the sound "Öm" (唵/ॐ), a sacred syllable in several religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. There are however exceptions to the rule in which both Koma inu have an open or closed mouth. However, other styles include two lions with a bead in their respective mouths, just large enough to be contained without ever being able to be removed.

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