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Stone Lion Links


Information about stone lions (lion dogs, shiisa, foo dogs) as well as koma-inu can be found at the sites below. The most detailed and interesting background on stone lions in the Orient can be found at Shisa Travelogue - four multi-page sections on the history and meaning of stone lions! If you're interested in exploring further, there is a book by Elsie Mitchell which is reviewed here: The Lion-Dog of Buddhist Asia.

Suggestions for additional links are welcome, but no commercial sites, please, unless they have something original to offer. (This page of links is offered as further information for visitors. If you're looking for photos of a variety of Chinese stone lions, the best resource is still this site itself).


1. Sites in English

ARTICLES AND PHOTOS (some with only brief notes)

China proper
Southeast Asia
Ancient Greece and Middle East
Lions in the West
2. Sites in Chinese
3. Sites in Japanese


Sites in English

China proper

Imperial guardian lions A Wikipedia article with interesting information and a small but very clear image gallery.

China.org quotes material by Hwee Lie Thè on the role of lions in the decorative repertoire of Chinese art. Has several photos of stone lions.

Stone Lions Tell of a Tradition's Rise and Fall An article (Jan 2005) about Shishilipu Town, Suide County in northern Shaanxi, a village of stonemasons who create stone lions.

Stone Dogs in Leizhou Peninsula (Guangdong Province).

File photos of 1937 incident at Marco Polo bridge (includes some stone lions).

Tian'anmen (with a few notes on stone lions, but no photos). See also Tian'anmen -- the Gate of Heavenly Peace, which has references to stone lions but no photos.

Photos of stone lions in a variety of styles (Hainan, Sichuan, Guangdong)

Photo of Stone Lion Zhanghua, Taiwan



Tombs of Early Tibetan Kings - The Tomb of Dusong Mangbujie: a description of stone lions guarding the tomb, including a photo.


Japanese lions and koma-inu:

Shishi - Lion Protector of Japan - relatively comprehensive, with lots of photos.

Koma-Inu - another brief explanation (slightly different).

Two Lion-Dogs (Koma-Inu): Japan, Kamakura Period 13th century. Asia Society The Collection in Context - Photo.

Photo of Koma-Inu at Asakusa Shrine (Tokyo), in Wikipedia article on Jinja.



Stone lions in Patan, Nepal (drawing from 1885)

Gilt copper poussé throne in Mustang, Nepal, with lion figures



Stone lion at the famed Mahabalipuram Shore Temple of India


Southeast Asia

Travelogue: Hue (Vietnam). A little more than halfway down the page is an item described as 'Vase in the museum, with gremlins'. Click to see a larger photo - you'll see they're not 'gremlins' but lions.

Architecture of The Pagan Period (Burma's Classic Age -- 11th to 14th centuries) includes photos of the Manoukthiha,a double-bodied lion guarding the Shwezigon Stupa (only one of four remains).


Ancient Greece and Middle East

Escape from Silicon Valley: Photo: Stone Lions - Stone lions in Delos

Lion Gate of Mycenae (Greece).

Lion carvings in Gobustan (Azerbaijan) from the Rock Carvings of Gobustan

The ancient Middle East and Egypt had an obsession with lions (a good example being the Sphinx). Try a Google search for more information.


Stone Lions in the West

Clevermag was seized with a passion for stone lions around the world.

Glasgow City Guide: Stone Lions

Stone Lions in Nottingham



2. Sites in Chinese:

Stone Lions (石狮子) from Chinese Wikipedia. Text and photos.

Marco Polo Bridge stone lions severely weathered according to experts (风化严重 专家会诊卢沟桥石狮子)

7 Stone Lions from different dynasties discovered at Henan Sinye Site (2004) (河南古城新野发现七只不同朝代石狮) Lions unearthed were sculpted in Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties.



3. Sites in Japanese:

Koma-Inu (狛犬) Japanese Wikipedia. Text and photos.

Komainu Net (狛犬ネット) boasting pictures of more than 1,000 koma-inu.

Komainu Research Society (狛研) Lots of interesting stuff, including an introduction to Japan's local varieties of koma-inu.

Komainu Paradise (狛犬天国) Has photos (with explanations in Japanese) of koma-inu from all over Japan -- click on links in bottom left window.

Koma-Inu Have Their Roots in the Chin Breed (狛犬のルーツは狆) Strictly speaking, more about the breed than about koma-inu.



Stone Lions in Hainan (1)
Haikou and Sanya
Stone Lions in Hainan (2)
Qionghai and Haikou
Some Slightly Different Stone Lions
Tibetan, Vietnamese, Ming


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