I had a client ask, “What are those funny looking dogs?”, referring to a couple blue porcelain statues. The pieces were the perfect size and color for the location she was trying to address. Before I could speak she announced, “They will not work in my home. I am a cat lover!” To her surprise, I told her that the common name in the west is “Foo Dogs”, but in the far East, they are actually known as “Imperial Guardian Lions”. Originally found in Imperial China, they were usually found in pairs, a male and female. The male symbolically protects the physical structure, while the female protects the people within. Both were placed near the main entrance, standing guard in front of palaces, temples and homes of the wealthy, and were usually quite large. You can tell which foo dog is which by examining what’s beneath the paws: the male dog holds a ball, the female dog holds a puppy. There is usually a great deal of symbolism in the carvings on the Foo Dogs, and each is unique. She replied ” I love lions, I will take them!” And with that, she had added the perfect addition to her design scheme, as well as thousands of years of tradition!