“Fu” in Chinese means wealth, good fortune and prosperity. Fu Dogs are known as Guardian Lions which have been used in China since the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). Another name is Chi lins which describes a mythical creature that features aspects of a dragon horse or Chinese unicorn. The concept became popular in Chinese Buddhism, subsequently spreading to other parts of Asia including, Japan, Korea, Tibet, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos and Singapore.
Traditionally, Fu Dogs were placed in front of Imperial palaces, temples, and government offices. In modern day times, Fu Dogs come in various sizes and designs; miniature statues, bookends, door knobs, artwork, prints, decals, etc.
What To know when selecting your Fu Dogs
My client is in process of purchasing Fu Dogs and texted me, “How can I tell which Fu Dog is male and female? Do I need to have two of them?”
Answer: Yes, you always need two Fu Dogs as they represent the polarities of humanity and nature. If you happen to come across large Fu Dog statues, they tend to be anatomically correct, yet that is not the most polite way to check. So instead, direct your eyes to the Fu Dog’s paws.
Male: can be recognized with his right paw resting on a globe that represents protecting worldly wisdom. Depending on who manufactures the Fu Dog statue, some may even provide the “Flower of Life” design on the globe.
Female: can be recognized with her left paw pressing down on a cub (“demon”), which symbolizes protecting the home and removing negative energy.
Interesting observation: If one of your Fu Dogs has an open mouth, and the other has a closed one, this may represent the in-and-out breath, or the sound “om.”
How to Position your Fu Dogs
Traditionally, it’s recommended that you place the Fu Dogs by the front entrance from outside, making sure the heads of the Fu Dogs face outward.