Tattoo Symbolism: Shisa
Fu Dog/Foo Dog
Lion of Buddha
T'ien Kou (Celestial Dog)
Korai Inu ("foreign" dog, the word Korai referring to Korean, with the
meaning of Outside/weird)
all of them came from China, but they took 3 routes to come to Japan
and they created different products at the end.
China directly to Japan = Chinese Lion
China via Korea to Japan = Guardian Dog (at shrines)
China to Okinawa = Shisa
The Shisa was normally one large statue placed at the edge of the town
to protect them from fire (which came from the South) and evil spirits
(the Demon Gate is in the Northeast). After the Meiji period they
started putting Shisa on the roofs.
Shisa in general are supposed to protect from fire.
Guardian dogs (Koma-inu) at temples are somewhat arbitrarily gendered...
Left side: mouth closed, speaking the "mm" of "Om", known as the
Shisa, is Male and keeps bad out with his closed mouth, or is Female
and keeping in the good.
Right side: mouth open, speaking the "aao" of "Om", known as the
Guardian Dog, is Female and sharing goodness with her open mouth, or
is Male and scaring away evil with his fangs.
Female Shishi are playing with a cub and Males have a ball.
Japanese painting of Shishi with Botan flower, which seems common...these also have scales!!
Chinese-style lion in bronze.
Very cute foo-dog tattoo!