Monday, April 13, 2015

Who is Guarding the Garden

There may be more than one soul hesitant to enter Botanica’s Chinese Garden, and not just because of the rumored Dragon within. 

Flanking the Garden’s entrance are two formidable Imperial Guardian Lions, or Foo Dogs as we call them in the West. At first glance, the pair might seem identical, but look closer. Foo Dogs are traditionally displayed in pairs: the male to your right as you stand outside the Garden, the female to your left.

A ball under the male’s right paw, carved with the Flower of Life, symbolizes his authority over the world. 

On the left paw of the female you will find a cub, this is because she represents nurture and the cycle of life. Traditionally the female Foo Dog is said to protect those within the Garden, while the male guards the physical structure.

There is a stone pearl inside each Foo Dogs’ mouth, large enough to move around but not be removed. Anyone brave enough is welcome to put their hand inside the mouth of either beast and gently roll the stone, as to do so is said to bring good luck.