Quite Continental Wants: Foo Dogs

15/04/2011 § 9 Comments

I have a bit of an obsession with foo dogs.  What’s that you say, cherie?  Not sure what they are?  Well, it’s easy to get confused when you consider the fact that they are actually pre-modern Chinese representations of lions, and not dogs.  Foo dogs — or more correctly: “Imperial guardian lions” — were traditionally placed at the entrance of Imperial buildings, as they were believed to protect the royal inhabitants.

Image of Tien An Men, in the Forbidden City. Taken in 1946 by Dimitri Kassel. Via LIFE.

Traditionally, the lions are always created in pairs, and you can determine the sex of each by what is held in their paw.  Males will be represented playing with a ball and should be placed on the left, and females will be playing with their cubs, as in the image above, and should be placed on the right.

Now, fast forward to present time, and you can find all kinds of foo dogs tschotskes, and they won’t always be paired correctly.  (In fact, I have a good friend with a gorgeous pair of antique laddies from Macao.  The boys seem to get along famously, with no need for a lady!) We’ve already discussed how I was on the lookout for foo dog lamps, but I’m still yet to find something sensible in price.  Until now.  What I have found sacrifices a bit of the historical accuracy, but I think it makes up for it with yards of style…

Images via Shades of Life

While I may not be able to tell who’s the lad and who’s the lady with this pair of lamps, I definitely love their muted turquoise color and the luxe black silk pagoda shade.  Coming in at just under $200, these dogs may have found a new home at chez moi!

Need a bit of chinoiserie of your own?  Scoop these lovelies here.

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