A fine Pair of older 20th c. Large Chinese Carved Dark Spinach Jade Foo Dogs / Shishi. Each carved in seated position, the softly polished stone is of a deep spinach green color. Both with matching wood stands. Each 5"x3"x8" and 9" on stands. Weight 14 pds 4 oz. PROVENANCE: A Charleston SC Private Estate. Known as Shishi or pinyin, these are literally, Chinese Imperial guardian lions, and often incorrectly called Foo Dogs in the West. The Shishi are a common representation of the lion in pre-modern China, and have traditionally stood before Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy. The earliest manifestations of this Guardian form appeared in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), and were believed to have powerful mythic protective qualities. Pairs of guardian lions are still common worldwide decorative and symbolic elements at the entrances to restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and other structures, with one sitting on each side of the entrance. The lions are always created in pairs, with the male resting his right paw upon the world (often thought to be a ball) and the female restraining a playful cub with her left paw.
Good small nick to bottom edge of one