Foo Dog and Herend

Did you know?
In the name Fo Dog or Fu Dog, the Fo stands for Buddha or Prosperity. Herend and the whole Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was influenced by orientalism in the 19th century so it was obvious for them to include Foo dogs in the product range. But where did Foo dog came from?

Foo Dog

 

Herend Foo lion head

Herend Foo lion head with rich gold

The Foo dog name represents the Chinese Guardian Lions or Imperial Guardian Lions. Their name in Chinese is Shi or 獅. The tradition of guardian lions is originated from Chinese Buddhism. You can find Foo dogs in Japan, Korea, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, etc.
The tradition started in the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220).
Traditionally these guardian lions stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, government offices, temples, home of government officers and the wealthy.
 
 
Herend Foo Lion side

Herend Foo Lion side

 

 The Power of the Foo Dog

 
Powerful mythic protective benefits were associated with the Foo dog statues. They were used in pairs to defend gates and doors. The Chinese versions were male and female. The male stood on a ball representing the power over the world.
Japanese versions were identical.
Pair of protective Lion Dogs are still used in front of many houses, and other infrastructure from the evil souls.
The Japan name for these lions is Komainu, 狛犬, Korea dogs.
 
The lions are named after their material:
  • Stone lion (石獅): for a stone sculpture; or
  • Bronze lion (銅獅): for a bronze sculpture
and sometimes:
  • Auspicious lion (瑞獅) referring to the Tibetan Snow Lion or good fortune
  • Fortuitous lion (福獅) referring to good fortune

Foo Dog, Europe and Herend

 
As I mentioned, the same period in Europe the Orientalism was on it’s peak. Fischer Mór – Founder and first CEO of Herend started it’s operations in this era. In the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy the big bridge construction of the famous Chain Bridge started. It had also four guardian lions at each entry. 
 
Of course the Herend version of Foo Dogs are more similar to the Japanese versions, but if you take in consideration that these mythical animals have been redesigned in an European understanding of art, you will see that actually they are somewhere in between both Japanese and Chinese Foo Dogs.
 
Herend Foo lion

Herend Foo lion

Some Foo Dogs on our website

 

 

Conclusion

The Foo Lions or Foo Dogs are protective lion figurines of the east.
They protect against the evil and bring wealth. 
If you happen to buy Foo lions always buy immediately two of them. They are used on both side of the protected doors or items just like soldiers nowadays.
 
Herend Foo lion

Herend Foo lion


  

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