Kutani Japanese Foo Dog Statue
- Vintage item
- Free USA Shipping
This dramatic Kutani foo dog statue, made in Japan in the 1930's, is beautifully hand enameled in the traditional deep red, overlaid with abundant gold leaf highlights and moriage. This ferociously protective example is a male, called a shishi (lion) in Japanese. He is Buddhist in origin; the name of Buddha in Chinese is 'fu' and these lion dogs were his companions.
The shishi has his mouth open, pronouncing the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, which sounds like "uh" or "ah." He is facing forward with his front paws resting on a Temari ball, a folk art that traditionally is made from remnants of discarded kimonos. Temari balls are given as gifts and represent deep loyalty and friendship. The ball this shishi is balanced on is heavily adorned with moriage and gilded, reticulated geometric designs that are sections of the Flower of Life. Shishi males traditionally stand to the left of the doorway to a temple or other building, providing loyal protection from evil spirits.
According to the website Gotheborg.com, the two-character Kutani mark that is impressed into the bottom of the sphere dates the statue to circa 1930. This vintage statue has many decorative features that later copies do not. Most notably, his mane stands high over his head like flames. In addition, the pupils of his eyes are pierced and surrounded with gold leaf, there are many elaborate moriage and gold leaf flower decorations and even his paws are decorated. This foo dog lion statue measures 11 inches tall, 9 inches across and 8 inches from paw to paw across the hindquarters. It weighs a substantial 5 pounds and is in outstanding condition, with no chips, cracks or other signs of wear. There are 3 felt circles on the bottom of the ball and one on the bottom of each foot, to protect fine surfaces. The statue was purchased in Hawaii in the 1980's by a family member and has been cherished ever since.
>>>We also have a Kutani porcelain charger available here: