This is a beautiful Okinawan Shisa dog (shi shi) wall hanging or gate hanging. A Great piece of Okinawan (Ryukyu) art work. Made to hang on your entry gate of wall to keep out evil spirits. It has a leather cord attached for hanging puposes. This Ryukyu pottery will be wonderful accent piece for your home!
Condition: Excellent, no chips, no cracks no crazing!
Dimensions: 6" inches wide, and 6 & 1/4" inches tall.
Sales to the U.S. and Canada only. See my feedback and bid with confidence.
Notes: Shisa (シーサー) (Okinawan: siisaa) (shishi or shisaa) is a traditional Ryukyuan decoration, often in pairs, resembling a cross between a lion and a dog, from Okinawa mythology. People place pairs of shisa on their rooftops or flanking the gates to their houses. Shisa are wards, believed to protect from some evils. When in pairs, the left shisa traditionally has a closed mouth, the right one an open mouth.The open mouth wards off evil spirits, and the closed mouth to keeps good spirits in.
In mainland Japan, similar pairs now known as "guardian dogs" were once called "shisa and guardian dogs": the right with its mouth opened is the guardian, the left with its mouth closed is the shisa. From the Edo period they started to be called "guardian dogs" in general in mainland Japan. Gender is variously assigned to the shisa. Some Okinawans believe the male has his mouth closed to keep bad out of the home, while the female has her mouth open to share goodness. Others believe the female has her mouth closed to "keep in the good", while the male has his mouth open to "scare away the bad". (Compare this to the distinction between male and female guardian lions in Chinese culture.) Alternatively, some attribute the open and closed mouths to the influence of Buddhism, whereby the shisa are pronouncing the sounds "Ah" and "Un", together forming the sacred Buddhist syllable "Aum."
The shisa, like the komainu (lion dogs), are a variation of the guardian lions ("fu dogs") from China. The shisaa, or lion dog, is an Okinawan cultural artifact. In magic typology, they might be also be classified as gargoyle beasts. They are traditionally used to ward off evil spirits.