Lion

CatholicSaints

Marysville, United States

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The lion is considered to be a brave and intelligent animal and thus symbolizes power and majesty.

The Chinese word for lion (shi 狮) has the same pronunciation and can be a visual pun or rebus for “teacher”, “master”, “tutor” or “preceptor” (shi 师).

For this reason, the lion can symbolize a high government official because in ancient times there existed a “Senior Grand Tutor” (tai shi 太师) and a “Junior Preceptor” (shao shi 少 师).

An example of such a lion charm may be seen at Open Work Charms.
In general, a stone or bronze lion outside a residence or official building acts as a guardian protecting the occupants from harm.

Usually, there is a pair of lions with a male playing with a ball and a female protecting her cub.

A pair of lions is considered to be auspicious and symbolizes happiness and the wish for a successful and prosperous career.

The lion dance (shiziwu 狮子舞) is an ancient and popular custom based on the lion being considered an auspicious animal.

It is believed that if a lion can be enticed to enter one’s gate, the household will enjoy wealth and treasures.

In Buddhism, the lion acts as a guardian of the faith and a symbol of royal power.

Buddhist deities, such as Guanyin, are sometimes shown riding a lion as a mount.

The lion can also represent the Buddha who, among his repeated births, was born 10 times as a lion.

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