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Imperial guardian lions(Japanese, 狛犬) of "Naritasan shinshoji Temple(Japanese, 成田山新勝寺)" in Chiba, Prefecture, Japan.

Rui Shi or Imperial guardian lion, traditionally known in Chinese simply as Shi are a common representation of the lion in pre-modern China. Statues of guardian lions have traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy, from the Han Dynasty, and were believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits.

Chinese guardian lions Chinese guardian lions, known as Shishi ( pinyin: shíshi; literally "stone lion") or Imperial guardian lion, and often called "Foo Dogs" in the West, are a common representation of the lion in pre-modern China. They have traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs. Photo by: Greg Sagayadoro