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Shi sha; Okinawa, Japan Glazed stoneware, 6″ x 6″, purchased new 2006.

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Traditional Ryukyuan, derived from Chinese lion dogs, reflecting the close connection in the past of Okinawa and the other Ryukyu Islands with China. Used as building guardians, they are seen commonly on gates or roof eaves of both private homes and public buildings. Appearing typically as male-female pairs; the female on the left with her mouth closed keeps in “good”, while the male with his mouth open repels “evil”. They vary greatly in size (from an inch or two to several feet tall), style, and material.

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