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Prince Loeffler
31st December 2007, 00:51
From my understanding is that the inushishi are temple guardian dogs and this tradition was borrowed from China.

However, I noticed that in many pictures of these "inushishi" or as they call it lion dogs, One has its mouth open and the other closed. What does this symbolize ?

Thanks !

John Anderson
31st December 2007, 01:16
One has its mouth open and the other closed. What does this symbolize ?
If I remember correctly (and there's no guarantee of that!) the closed mouth symbolises inhaling the first breath at birth and the open mouth symbolises exhaling the last breath at death so that between them, they cover life from the cradle to the grave.

JS3
31st December 2007, 01:22
From what I read the open mouth is the female bringing in good luck.
The one with the closed mouth is the male keeping th good luck in.

Here's a good Link (http://www.water-oak.net/Aikikai/Shisa.aspx)

Prince Loeffler
31st December 2007, 01:50
From what I read the open mouth is the female bringing in good luck.
The one with the closed mouth is the male keeping th good luck in.

Here's a good Link (http://www.water-oak.net/Aikikai/Shisa.aspx)

Interesting, Now I know how to differenciate the gender of these statues. Thanks !

Prince Loeffler
31st December 2007, 02:18
If I remember correctly (and there's no guarantee of that!) the closed mouth symbolises inhaling the first breath at birth and the open mouth symbolises exhaling the last breath at death so that between them, they cover life from the cradle to the grave.

Another interesting answer. As I understand, Shintoism does not recognize "death", Is there a posibility that this is likely to come from the Chinese buddhism ?

Josh Reyer
31st December 2007, 03:33
The open mouth represents the "a" and the closed represents "un" sound - together this makes up the "Aum" or "Om" of Hinduism and Buddhism. These Lion Dogs are sometimes found in front of Buddhist temples, which usually have a similar guardians called "Niou (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nio)". While Lion-Dog statues are found in other countries, like China and Korea, their use as gate guardians in the style of the Niou appears to be a mostly Japanese innovation.

Prince Loeffler
31st December 2007, 03:59
Thanks Josh !

Off the link, I found this quote:


Men are supposedly born speaking the "a" sound with mouths open and die speaking an "hūṃ" and mouths closed.

Is it safe to say that the same applies to the guardian dogs ?

Josh Reyer
31st December 2007, 05:06
Thanks Josh !
Is it safe to say that the same applies to the guardian dogs ?

Yes, I'm pretty sure I did say that. :)

Prince Loeffler
31st December 2007, 05:17
Yes, I'm pretty sure I did say that. :)

Thanks Josh and everyone else ! Now I know !

lady sai
31st December 2007, 14:04
http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/shishi.shtml
I found this site. It had alot of info. I didn't know they were dog, lion, or deer.
Deb

Walker
31st December 2007, 17:56
My favorite pair are the Koma Inu and Kara Shishi at the Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura:

Prince Loeffler
31st December 2007, 18:40
http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/shishi.shtml
I found this site. It had alot of info. I didn't know they were dog, lion, or deer.
Deb

Great find, Thank you for sharing it !

Prince Loeffler
31st December 2007, 19:13
My favorite pair are the Koma Inu and Kara Shishi at the Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura:


Nice ! Did you take it yourself ?

mews
9th January 2008, 16:28
My favorite pair are the Koma Inu and Kara Shishi at the Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura:


I was there this summer - they are nice, aren't they?

I also took pictures to remind myself ( and remember the heat wave, too)

mew

Timo
31st March 2008, 21:47
Hello all.For those that have trained,visited Okinawa Shiisa (Lion dogs) are found everywhere.Homes,shops,dojo's etc.I asked what there symbolisim meant and was told they are to ward off evil spirits,and that the open mouth Shiisa was the wife having a nag at the husband!-ha,ha.

Regards
Tim