Chinese Guardian Lions, also known as Foo Dogs in the West, traditionally guard the gates and entryways into Buddhist temples, imperial palaces and tombs as well as homes of the wealthy in China. They are large-scale figures carved either from stone or cast from bronze or other metals.
They come in pairs and represent the male and female aspects, the yin and the yang. The male rests his paw on an embroidered ball (representing supremacy over the world), while the female restrains a playful cub (representing nurture.) They are both designed to look ferocious so as to frighten away evil spirits.
Don’t worry though, you don’t need to live in an imperial palace to be able to benefit from these guys’ mystical powers (or, you know, you can still just want them because they’re pretty) -- they come in small sizes too and are a great way to bring in a pop of color, or compliment colors already in your design scheme. Bookends, lamps, vases and statuettes of Foo Dogs make great additions to your interior décor and work with any style, from traditional to the ultra-modern. Foo Dogs are fairly easy to come by (check etsy for some good options,) but it is harder to find antique or vintage ones in pairs.
I think I should get some Foo Dogs to protect my Hermès too!