Why lion dogs? During my 15 years of living in Japan, I often rode my bicycle to various shrines for the sole purpose of visiting these guardian dogs. For some reason, they fascinated me.
In Japanese they are referred to as “komainu”, meaning Korea dogs, possibly because of their introduction to Japan by way of Korea. Lions do not exist in Asia. They are fantasy creatures there, bearing various forms of symbolism. They stand guard in front of shrines, monasteries, and other such structures, warding away evil, and keeping in good. They are also seen as being guardians of the teachings of Buddha.
The pieces shown here are made from stoneware, fired in a gas kiln, using stains, oxides, and thinly applied glazes. Some of them have metal paints applied to the surfaces. I’ve begun a whole new series of lion dogs containing symbolism pertinent to my life. I enjoy working in pairs – the yin/yang, female/male aspect is fascinating to me. Their scale alone has visual impact.
Without knowing how the series will play out, I’m trusting the process. Stay tuned.