狗 佛

Foo dogs (sometimes spelled fu or fo) or foo lions are mythical beasts commonly found at temple, tomb or garden entrances, where they perform a gargoyle's task of protecting buildings against evil spirits. The animal, usually carved from stone, is most commonly shown with its paw on a sphere, standing guard with teeth bared, discouraging evil spirits and wrong doers from entering. They look like a cross between a stout dog and a lion, an animal that does not occur in Chinese primitive art, but was introduced later in connection with Buddhism as the defender of law and protector of sacred buildings. Their fierce countenance can be found in open and closed mouth varieties: the foo dog with the open mouth sucks in all evil spirits; the closed mouth dog keeps them contained. Even The Forbidden City in Beijing, China is guarded by foo dogs. It is also known as the Happiness Dog, as well as the Celestial Dog, an emblem of value and energy. Foo dog symbolism appears in studies of feng shui, but it is most commonly associated with the Buddhist religion.

As a symbol of the Buddhist religion, depictions of foo dogs are widespread across Asia. Koreans commonly call them the "Lion of Korea." In China, it is commonly called "the Dog of Fo," Fo, being the Chinese word for Buddha. The lion is sacred to Buddhism and is sometimes presented as offerings to Buddha. It was a companion of Buddha, and is considered to be a fantastic animal, not unlike a dragon. An alternate explanation for the name is that it is derived from the city of Foochow, where a dog breed associated with the mythical beast originated. The earliest traces of foo dogs appear in the Han Dynasty (208 BC to 221 AD). The animal disappeared from use for the next 400 years, reappearing in art from the T'ang Dynasty (618 to 917 AD). Many paintings of Buddhist deities show them riding the back of a smiling foo dog, either in pursuit of evil spirits or spreading happiness and joy.

Foo Dogs of a less mythical nature also exist. A dog breed originating in the Chinese city of Foochow, The Chinese Foo Dog traces its ancestry back over 3000 years. It's progenitors include the Spitz Foo Dog and several other Asian breeds. It was originally used as a hunter and a guard dog, gradually finding its way into a role as a household pet. They have been breed into standard, miniature, and toy sizes. Standard Foo Dogs are not overly large, commonly growing to about 14 inches in height and between 20 to 40 pounds. They look like stout fuzzy Husky-Samoyed mixes, with colors ranging from black to cream, occasionally sable or wolfgray. They have a signature high set curled tail which curves toward the back. They are very protective of their owners, much like their mythical counterparts.

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