Fu Dog | Pair | Ball | Cub | Mane | Bell | Ribbon | Harness | Tassel | Posture | Placement

In Home Page posts on March 11, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Yes, I know I haven’t blogged in a few weeks. (As always the photos herein remain the property of their owners; each photo has a link listed in the text prior to the photo that will take you to the originating pages. Oh, all links open in a new window.)

I’ve been reading and writing about Fu Dogs offline, preparing my upcoming post. After talking with some friends about that upcoming post, the consensus was that the post didn’t need to be a single post (because it is turning out to be a rather lengthy post) but instead should be broken up into at least two posts, if not more. So, I’m going to try to split it into multiple posts, uploaded over the next several days or week.


The topic of the first upcoming post is “Why are there two Fu Dogs, as a standard, and why is one male and one female?” It seems like it’s taken for granted that all Fu Dogs come in pairs so I had to ask for myself to see if there is a deeper meaning. Photos, in order, from here, here, and here – I picked photos that show two Fu Dogs regardless of ‘accessories.’

silverpair pairwood white pair on pedestal with balls


The topic of the second upcoming post is “Why does the female Fu Dogs have a cub under her paw, what does that mean, and why does the male have a ball under his paw and what does that mean?” This, as you can imagine, is a pretty complex topic having not a few interpretations, and, it has some overlap with the previous and next posts. The following photos are from here and here (showing a pretty ball and a pretty cub).



The topic of the third upcoming post is “What is the optimal or traditional placement of the two Fu Dogs and why?” Most of the time you only get the placement of Fu Dogs in a quick, one here, the other there blurb without any consideration to why, so I asked and here’s my answer. The photos showing ‘still in the store’ and thus unplaced Fu Dogs is from here and here.

fu-dogs-front foodog01_big


The topic of the fourth upcoming post is “What do the stylized curls (if present) mean on the Fu Dogs’ mane, is there a meaning behind some of the poses/postures and facial expressions of the male and female Fu Dog, and why do some have a ribbon and/or harness with bells and/or tassels?” I can’t help but want to know if these things have some purpose beyond decoration. The photos above and and the first one below (from here) show great curls, harness, bells, and ribbons. The last picture is by me, showing the ‘lack’ of those aspects.

 fu-dog-wood_0154 02-22-09_1549


There are at least two difficulties in presenting the information like this – one is that the topics do have some overlap – what is the best way to split them apart; and the second is that the topics are Chinese-centric (as best as I can manage, not being Chinese and being in America) and so some of the information that might be known might apply to Korean Fu Dogs or Japanese Fu Dogs or Thai Fu Dogs or Vietnamese Fu Dogs (you get the picture) and not be presented, leaving you wondering why some bit of information isn’t shared that you know is common knowledge. I hope to cover each interpretation, by country, over the course of this blog, so if your favorite feature or cultural representation isn’t yet presented then please be patient.





  1. perhaps you can help me;I have a large pair of antique cast-bronze fu dogs (90 x 133cm)but they differ from any other such statues I have ever seen. In particular, under the females paw she pins a writhing fish (koi carp?)not the traditional cub.
    I can find no reference anywhere to why she should have a fish rather than a cub underfoot. Can you think why? They look chinese but perhaps they may not be. Is there a tradition in any other oriental culture where this might happen?
    These bought in the Far East more than fifty years ago and look as if they are at least a hundred years old.

    If you can offer any advice I can email you a picture of the fu dogs.
    Tom Harding.

  2. I inherited my mothers turquouise Foo Dogs. One has an open mouth no ball or cub. The other has a closed mouth no ball ir cub. Which is male/female? Which do I place at the inside front door facing out on left and right?

  3. Hi Lauren, in many cultures the opened mouthed one would be the ‘male/yang’ one and the closed mouthed one the ‘female/yin’ one. In cases of ‘entry’ settings (if you were outside looking at the door about to be entered) you’d want the yang to be on the right and the yin on the left. Here is a fun page (not my own) with some more info of foo dogs: http://www.dogica.com/foo-dogs.html —- enjoy!!!

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