Guarding “Chinese lion” karashishi with a pearl

Anonymous artist

Anonymous artist - Guarding “Chinese lion” karashishi with a pearl
The pair of “Chinese lions” karashishi (karajishi) with lion’s head and horse’s tail guarded either side of staircases or gates to sacred monastery premises. Kara is an old term for China and is written in the character for the Tang dynasty (7th–10th centuries); shishi is the Japanese reading of the character for lion. The lions, chiselled in stone or cast in bronze, are usually large or even gigantic, and have an angry or playfully grinning muzzle. They are good-hearted mythical animals that often play with another Buddhist attribute – the sacred pearl tama, which is decorated in the colourful cloisonné enamel technique on these statues.
measurements: height 116 cm
depth Ø 40 (perla) cm
in collections:
material: Bronze
technique: Patina, Cloisonné enamel (pearl)
inventory number: Vp 1050
gallery collection: Collection of Asian and African Art