14 December 2012

House of Good Fortune

Standing guard at the entrance of China’s House of Good Fortune are a pair of giant lion statues that are more than just a couple of pretty faces. While lions have been used for through many eras of Chinese history, they began to take on their traditional forms in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Generally carved from marble or cast in bronze, these figures are held in high regard. The pair, known as Foo Dogs, may look identical, but there is a significant difference between the two.

The pair are a set of male and female figures, with the male resting his right paw atop a globe-like structure and the female resting her left paw on top of a cub, who is playfully turned on his back. This is an example of the continual presence of the yin and yang, with the female being the yin and the male being the yang in this instance. The male is said to protect the structure it guards, while the female is the protector of those who reside in the dwelling.

Just as what each represents is important, so too is how they are displayed. Looking from the exterior to the interior of the building, the female lion should be situated on the left and the male on the right of the doorway. This adherence to feng shui is meant to ensure the full benefits of each lion.

History, culture, and beliefs are found all throughout the pavilions of World Showcase, from the largest art exhibit down to the structures themselves. In China the Foo Dogs are not simply placed out in front of a store for their visual appeal, they are there because that is their place in the Chinese culture. The wonders of World Showcase never cease to amaze for those who are curious.


fink said...

Learned about these on the Around the World Segway tour last year! Great stuff. And noticed just last week a similar pair flanking the entrance to the Great Movie Ride, male and female in their correct Feng Shui places, of course.

Unknown said...

Very interesting article! I guess didn't pay too much attention to Lions!