Chinese Guardians


Female Shi shi, lion guardian, Forbidden City.

This photo is my response to the Travel Photo Challenge: Animals

Okay Im cheating a little with my mythic animal, but she is so magnificent I couldn’t resist sharing her. This shot shows a female Shi shi, stone lion, or lion guardian in the Forbidden City. I took it while staying in Beijing back in 2004, after walking and camping along the Great Wall for 8 days. It was so strange to suddenly be amongst such opulence after being immersed in the very rural mountains, for what had felt like a lifetime.

Almost all the other tourists I was brushing shoulders with here were Chinese, so I stood out a bit with my ‘bird nose’ which had fascinated the children we met up in the mountains! The children all wanted to touch our noses, as if they couldn’t believe they were real, or perhaps for good luck. In a similar way people were touching the Lion Guardians for luck and protection 🙂 You can see the most popular spots for rubbing, by the lack of gilding on the claws and on the cubs paws and head.

The female guardian is always on the left of the doorway looking from the outside, and she represents the circle of life, with the tiny fierce cub beneath her claws. The male holds an embroidered ball representing power or the flower of life. He protects the building’s structure while our lady lion protects the people within the building. I just think it is such beautiful embodied symbolism. Hope you enjoy!

Click here to join in the fun of the Travel Photo Challenge: Animals

About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home on the shores of Loch Ness deep in the Scottish Highlands with my husband, my son and a couple of dogs. I love art which is here now and gone food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist and Cancer Support Specialist in Maggies Highlands
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6 Responses to Chinese Guardians

  1. A funa dn creative take on the challenge! 😉

  2. icelandpenny says:

    Welllll… this photo probably was a bit of a cheat! But so what? You clearly enjoyed the animal so much, engaged so much with him, that he comes to life for you — and for us in your description.

  3. Hope you got out of the way in time 🙂 kidding, I love your take on this challenge.

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