Home > Stone Lions Intro >


Guardian Lion Links


Information about guardian lions (lion dogs, shiisa, foo dogs) as well as koma-inu can be found at the sites below. If you're interested in exploring further, there is a book by Elsie Mitchell: The Lion-Dog of Buddhist Asia.

Suggestions for additional links are welcome, but no commercial sites, please, unless they have something original to offer. (This page of links is offered as further information for visitors. If you're looking for photos of a variety of Chinese stone lions, the best resource is still this site itself).


1. Sites in English

ARTICLES AND PHOTOS (some with only brief notes)

China proper
Southeast Asia
Ancient Greece and Middle East
Lions in the West
2. Sites in Chinese
3. Sites in Japanese


Sites in English

China proper

Imperial guardian lions A Wikipedia article with interesting information and a small but very clear image gallery.

China's Stone Lions — the Lowdown and Many Photos is an introduction to the history and characteristics of guardian lions in China, along with a gallery of guardian lion's faces from Taiyuan.

China.org quotes material by Hwee Lie Thè on the role of lions in the decorative repertoire of Chinese art. Has several photos of stone lions.

Stone Lions Tell of a Tradition's Rise and Fall An article (Jan 2005) about Shishilipu Town, Suide County in northern Shaanxi, a village of stonemasons who create guardian lions.

Stone Dogs in Leizhou Peninsula (Guangdong Province).

File photos of 1937 incident at Marco Polo bridge (includes some stone lions).

Tian'anmen (with a few notes on guardian lions, but no photos). See also Tian'anmen -- the Gate of Heavenly Peace, which has references to stone lions but no photos.

Photo of Stone Lion Zhanghua, Taiwan



Tombs of Early Tibetan Kings - The Tomb of Dusong Mangbujie: a description of stone lions guarding the tomb, including a photo.


Japanese lions and koma-inu

Shishi - Lion Protector of Japan - relatively comprehensive, with lots of photos.

Koma-Inu - another brief explanation (slightly different).

Two Lion-Dogs (Koma-Inu): Japan, Kamakura Period 13th century. Asia Society The Collection in Context - Photo.

Photo of Koma-Inu at Asakusa Shrine (Tokyo), in Wikipedia article on Jinja.


Okinawan lions

Stone lions in Okinawa that survived a battle in WWII


Stone lions in Patan, Nepal (drawing from 1885)

Gilt copper poussé throne in Mustang, Nepal, with lion figures



Stone lion at the famed Mahabalipuram Shore Temple of India

Lion Capital of Ashoka (Wikipedia)

Lion Capital Ashokan Pillar at Sarnath


Southeast Asia

Travelogue: Hue (Vietnam). A little more than halfway down the page is an item described as 'Vase in the museum, with gremlins'. Click to see a larger photo - you'll see they're not 'gremlins' but lions.

Architecture of The Pagan Period (Burma's Classic Age -- 11th to 14th centuries) includes photos of the Manoukthiha,a double-bodied lion guarding the Shwezigon Stupa (only one of four remains).

Thai Temple art '' Singh '' The Lion looks at the background of temple lions in Chiangmai.

Thai or Cambodian guardian lion, 12th or 13th century, from the Met.

Huge Guardian Lion at Wat Thai Wattanaram (Trip Advisor)


Ancient Greece and Middle East

Escape from Silicon Valley: Photo: Stone Lions - Stone lions in Delos

Lion Gate of Mycenae (Greece).

Lion carvings in Gobustan (Azerbaijan) from the Rock Carvings of Gobustan

The ancient Middle East and Egypt had an obsession with lions (a good example being the Sphinx). Try a Google search for more information.


Lions in the West

Landseer's Lion Statues in Trafalgar Square about the famous lion statues in London.

Lions at the entrance of the New York Public Library: photos here (Wikipedia commons), here (Wikipedia commons), and here.

Clevermag was seized with a passion for guardian lions around the world.

Glasgow City Guide: Lions

Lions in Nottingham



2. Sites in Chinese:

Stone Lions (石狮子) from Chinese Wikipedia. Text and photos.

Marco Polo Bridge stone lions severely weathered according to experts (风化严重 专家会诊卢沟桥石狮子)

7 Stone Lions from different dynasties discovered at Henan Sinye Site (2004) (河南古城新野发现七只不同朝代石狮) Lions unearthed were sculpted in Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties (no photos).



3. Sites in Japanese:

Koma-Inu (狛犬) Japanese Wikipedia. Text and photos.

Komainu Net (狛犬ネット) boasting pictures of more than 1,000 koma-inu.

Komainu Research Society (狛研) Lots of interesting stuff, including an introduction to Japan's local varieties of koma-inu.

Komainu Paradise (狛犬天国) Has photos (with explanations in Japanese) of koma-inu from all over Japan -- click on links in bottom left window.

Koma-Inu Have Their Roots in the Chin Breed (狛犬のルーツは狆) Strictly speaking, more about the breed than about koma-inu.


Back to Top