November 19, 2010 – Stone Lion G.A.S. Mask
You may know them as “foo dogs” or “fu dogs”, to be honest that’s how I’d refer to them. It’s not the right term though, the correct name for these amazing beasts are stone lions or Chinese guardian lions. Whatever you call ’em, I call ’em FREAKIN’ AMAZING! Here’s some more info on them from Wikipedia:
The Buddhist version of the Lion was originally introduced to Han China as the protector of dharma and these lions have been found in religious art as early as 208 BC. Gradually they were incorporated as guardians of the Chinese Imperial dharm. Lions seemed appropriately regal beasts to guard the emperor’s gates and have been used as such since. There are various styles of imperial guardian lions reflecting influences from different time periods, imperial dynasties, and regions of China. These styles vary in their artistic detail and adornment as well as in the depiction of the lions from fierce to serene.
The mythic Lion is sometimes associated with feng shui, and are often referred to as “Fu Dogs” in English and several western languages. Fu means ‘prosperity’ in Chinese; however, the term “Fu Lion” and its variants, are not used in Chinese. Instead, they are known as Rui Shi (瑞獅) (“auspicious lions”) or simply Shi (“lions”). It is believed by some that the Chow Chowbreed of Chinese dogs is one of the native dogs used as the original model for the creation of Chinese guardian lions in ancient China when few have seen a real lion before when stories reached China that Buddhist temples and monasteries in India were being guarded by the traditional stone lions found in front of Buddhist temples and palaces in India.
G.A.S. stands for Guerrilla Art Squadron and is a series of work and a movement started by Freehand Profit. We’re here to fight for the freedom of art, to keep it accessible to the masses, the streets, the people.