(Fu)(Fo)(Foo) Dogs/Guardian Lions Of the Far East | Cambodia | Thailand | Burma | Nepal | India | Japan | Malaysia | Bali | Singapore | China

In Gallery Images postings, Historical Slant postings, Home Page posts on June 13, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Please be patient as the images load. All rights belong to the image owner and may not be reproduced for profit without contacting the owner.

Like the last post (the tattoo post), this post also has a lot of images. I realized, as I tried to put together a post about Fu Dogs of other countries, that I didn’t know as much about those countries and their artistic heritage, stylistic interpretations, or even their animal-representation traditions. It didn’t make much sense to me to post images and discuss how this one has too-pointy ears, that one has a far longer tail, and those are missing the elements of a Fu Dog (such as a ball and cub underfoot) – that really doesn’t address the reason behind a countries interpretive license and the creative choices that drove certain stylistic expressions for their own Fu Dogs to have meaning for their local audience.

So, rather than approach the discussion in a negation-emphasis way (pointing out the differences that make these Fu Dogs not like Chinese Fu Dogs), I wanted to present a selection of images of Fu Dogs from those countries, that have them, in order to see the differences between them. Then, I can see the similarities more easily, from artist to artist within a single country, and be better able to research why those similarities are important, significant, and perhaps find their historic precedence. Though I have written in the past that I would use the Chinese Fu Dog as the basis for how far another countries Fu Dog falls from that norm in representation, I now think that method will be detrimental to the appreciation of another, different, representation of a Guardian Lion. Certainly the Fu Dogs I have known and loved have been the Chinese ones, but, that doesn’t mean I can’t grow to know and love another representation of that ideal.

There is always the dilemma of interpreting an artists reasoning behind why certain features are present in their artwork. Is it that they’ve been asked to include/exclude certain features, have a favorite ‘reference’ piece from another culture (or misuse a reference that is incorrectly attributed to some country) – or that they are doing a certain method that they enjoy and are good at and is popular? For example, if you are a sculptor good at carving monkeys might your Fu Dog become more monkey-like? If your purchasing audience are more familiar with a particular animal then wouldn’t it make sense to have subtle feature references to that animal in your work so that they might feel more comfortable with a mythic history you might spin about the piece – so that a lion might take on the aspects of, say, a dog (or an alligator)?

The following images have come from many places across the internet, from many countries across the globe, and I’d like to proffer my greatest and most sincere gratitude to the image owners who so posted their images. I have provided, for nearly every image, a link to that image holders internet presence and recommend to all visitors that if you find the image intriguing then please visit the accompanying link. If an image has been placed under the incorrect country heading then please let me know. As you will find, not every single one of the images presented are of a countries Guardian Lion interpretation (the vast vast majority are though) – some are specifically included to show what may be a countries original guardian creature of myth (like a naga: The snake or dragon, a creature of myth and legend. In Southeast Asia, nagas take on many roles) and how such a creature may have influenced their Fu Dog presentation. And some are included just because I liked them a lot.

What should be kept in mind during browsing the following images is that these representations are for Guardian Lions, and not perhaps for a specific creature named Fu Dog. A Fu Dog is a Guardian Lion certainly, and as such it does share a heritage with these creatures. Regardless the name (chinthe: A lion-like creature that guards the entranceways to temples, chimera, etc.), these creatures are from the same history and deserve some appreciation. I’ll make small notes for each image when I think it needed. I’ll refer to these guardian creatures all, as Fu Dogs, even though they may more fit the term Guardian Lion. Enjoy! Oh, all images will open in a new window and I think I’ve got it figured out so that they open at their larger size too.



cambodiahttp://www.art-and-archaeology.com/seasia/mandalay/mm03.html This Fu Dog is nearly 6 foot tall!


cambodiafudog5http://www.worldisround.com/articles/340169/photo8.html The Fu Dog is on the left hand side.


cambodiafudog4 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beast_Sculpture-angkor.jpg




cambodiafudog2 http://www.angkor-traveltips.com/lolei.htm


fu statuehttp://travel.webshots.com/photo/2761714040089153205McyKEf


lion2vihear http://www.earthportals.com/Portal_Messenger/stonesinsky8.html


lionstairvihear http://www.earthportals.com/Portal_Messenger/stonesinsky8.html


museum cambodian http://chinahistoryforum.com/lofiversion/index.php/t29343.html View one.


museum cambodian2http://www.flickr.com/photos/70323761@N00/1673248313 view two.




http://andybrouwer.blogspot.com/2008_01_01_archive.html Almost looks like a crocodile snout.


http://andybrouwer.blogspot.com/2008_01_01_archive.html Little bit of an elephant nose happening here.






0602 http://www.art-and-archaeology.com/seasia/angkor/pko/pk03.html 


0536 http://www.art-and-archaeology.com/seasia/ppenh/wp01.html On the stairs and the roof – lots of Fu Dogs.




wat benjamaborpit bangkok thailandhttp://staff.jccc.net/Thoare/buddhism_in_thailand.htm


 thailand fudog6 http://www.edragonu.ro/trip-to-thailand-day-1/


fudragonhttp://www.edragonu.ro/trip-to-thailand-day-1/ Is that a mohawk?


fusheep http://www.edragonu.ro/trip-to-thailand-day-1/ This looks like a sheep in Fu Dog clothing – I like it.


thailand fudog http://www.chiangmai-traveltips.com/wat-phan-tao.htm


859610568_89f8f910a0http://www.bootsintheoven.com/boots_in_the_oven/2007/07/index.html This image is a ‘distant’ view that has a close-up of the Fu Dogs on the walls, below.


859610250_2d8200dd60http://www.bootsintheoven.com/boots_in_the_oven/2007/07/index.html I’ve never seen a Fu Dog that behaved as a lizard, clinging to a wall; this is truly unique.


thaidragon http://www.pbase.com/scubidoo/image/27100396 This is one of those creatures that is not specifically a Fu Dog, it just looks very cool, has a claw on a ball, and is guarding an entrance – close enough for me!






su0390 http://www.art-and-archaeology.com/seasia/chiangmai/cm02.html This is another image that isn’t Fu Dogs, not in the least. I include it just to show that Guardian Creatures of different cultures take different, exciting, forms.




Myanmar / Burma

burma6892017-mdhttp://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=6892017&size=lg Note the Fu Dog in the corner of the picture.


6892020-lghttp://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=6892020 This image I’ve seen a couple of times, not the Fu Dog but the idea of the animal at the corner of a building – if you view it from the left it looks correct, if you view if from the right it looks correct – head on it looks a little splayed, but, still good.


myanmar73563567_lqnwiMU1 http://www.pbase.com/taboo5/mandalay_myanmar_general_photos


myanmar http://www.pbase.com/taboo5/mandalay_myanmar_general_photos




Ps19 http://www.seasite.niu.edu/burmese/cooler/Chapter_3/Part2/pagan_period_2.htm


Ps09 http://www.seasite.niu.edu/burmese/cooler/Chapter_3/Part2/pagan_period_2.htm Big Fu Dog!


Ps05 http://www.seasite.niu.edu/burmese/cooler/Chapter_3/Part2/pagan_period_2.htm




ux29 http://www.seasite.niu.edu/burmese/cooler/Chapter_3/Part2/pagan_period_2.htm


Ps08 http://www.seasite.niu.edu/burmese/cooler/Chapter_3/Part2/pagan_period_2.htm




myanmar500099447PRdlRH_fs http://travel.webshots.com/photo/1500099447047274901PRdlRH


fu monkey http://www.pbase.com/spoonbender/image/72959727 This artist may have been more comfortable representing an animal other than a Fu Dog, I think.


72959820_eWcYOMeE_011207more_19 http://www.pbase.com/spoonbender/image/72959820






72959655_cHJzCHuS_010107bagan_22   http://www.pbase.com/spoonbender/image/72959655


d02 http://www.art-and-archaeology.com/seasia/mandalay/km01.html


0269 http://www.art-and-archaeology.com/seasia/mtpopa/mp02.html Just to show that not only Fu Dogs were Guardian ‘Lions’!



Kathmandu / Nepal







 1170275-guardian-lion-statue-in-Patan-0 http://www.travelblog.org/Asia/Nepal/blog-160895.html


temple_guards http://www.longsstrangetrip.com/temple_guards.JPG


temple_doorway_and_steps http://www.longsstrangetrip.com/temple_doorway_and_steps.JPG I think these are ‘wrapped’ Fu Dogs, but I’m not certain.


temple lionshttp://eagersnap.blogspot.com/2007/05/guardian-lions-of-kathmandu.html Colorful!


Red Door Lionshttp://eagersnap.blogspot.com/2007/05/guardian-lions-of-kathmandu.html


Colourful Lion http://eagersnap.blogspot.com/2007/05/guardian-lions-of-kathmandu.html


golden lions http://eagersnap.blogspot.com/2007/05/guardian-lions-of-kathmandu.html


belovedgods http://www.exoticindiaart.com/article/nepal




india vyalihttp://www.siliconintelligence.com/people/binu/images/orissa/konark/konark.html This is not a Fu Dog but it does have the elephantine snout that I have noticed on several other countries’ Fu Dogs.


india singlehttp://www.siliconintelligence.com/people/binu/images/orissa/konark/konark.html Interesting.


india pair http://www.siliconintelligence.com/people/binu/images/orissa/konark/konark.html I don’t get it, but, interesting Fu Dogs.


tamil nadu s indiahttp://chinahistoryforum.com/lofiversion/index.php/t29343.html


column fu doghttp://www.flickr.com/photos/50863590@N00/2312684736/


mahabalipuram http://www.flickr.com/photos/lkamala/sets/72157603969378173/



Unknown location

These are unknown in that I don’t know the web address from which they came. Some do look Japanese, some look like another country or other – I didn’t want to make that guess though. If you know the country please let me know.

fu dog2 http://moelwin999.wordpress.com/photos-by-me/
























guardians of the gods_0001 bloghttp://windbagandthunder.blogspot.com/2008/07/lions-and-tigers-and-bears.html Scary.


guardians of the gods_0002 bloghttp://windbagandthunder.blogspot.com/2008/07/lions-and-tigers-and-bears.html I looked at this for a long time – it is hard to decipher. Very intriguing.


japanfu dog1http://travel.webshots.com/photo/2143941480095172172ToiEuS


1551896614_a5af829346 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mtyto/1551896614/in/set-72057594097711508/ Open Mouth.


1551025611_19c2d10edb_mhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/mtyto/1551025611/ Close Mouth.


fu roof creature http://tanuki.org.uk/okinawa.html


japanese fu doghttp://www.nihonsun.com/2009/03/04/shishi-the-guardian-lion/








fu stool http://hd2o.tv/deep/index.php?main_page=page&id=7&chapter=50




fu classic http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Imperial_guardian_lion_-_Ngee_Ann_City_-_Singapore_(gabbe).jpg





fu doghttp://www.fotothing.com/DragonSpeed/photo/2bd3bce07a4aa6fdf519b75264f28d4f/


chimera dog http://chinahistoryforum.com/lofiversion/index.php/t29343.html 






  1. Your first image under “India” is Makara ; not a dog, but a ubiquitous Indian icon.

  2. Thanks! — If you read the last paragraph of text (at the top of the page) I do say that the images may not be a dog but most do partake in the protective history of guardian animals — I never knew the name of this Makara before now, thanks so much for giving me (and anyone else read this post who also might not know what it was) that information!! Always glad to learn the ‘natural names’ of the various creatures of all cultures! Thanks again!

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