Melbourne Daily Photo
Hello, I created this blog because Melbourne is my city and I want people to see what a beautiful place it is. So come with me on a journey of discovery as we traverse the dining precincts, the culture, the laneways and hidden gems that make Melbourne marvellous.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Chinese Lion Guardians
In cohen Place, just off the main artery of Chinatown, two marble lions stand sentry at the door to the Chinese Museum. They were a gift from the city of Tianjin, in recognition of Melbourne as its sister city.
Often called Fu Lions (Lions of Buddha or Rui Shi), guardian lions first appeared during the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD), after early travellers first saw tham at Buddhist temples in India. The lions were thought to have mythic power and were stationed at temple doors to protect the dharma.
In China they were traditionally placed at the gates to imperial palaces and tombs, temples and government offices to ward off evil and misfortune, but over the centuries they've shifted into the more popular realm, now even featuring ouside supermarkets.
They most commonly appear in pairs, the male lion playing with a ball (representing the world) and positioned to the right of the doorway, and the female, depicted with a cub (representing the family), positioned to the left.
Today's Quote: A lion sleeps in the heart of every brave man - Turkish proverb.