Posted 12 months ago
Mid-to-late 19th century ivory netsuke in the form of a male Shishi and one of his cub young. The Shishi is carved with a moveable ball in its mouth. Dimensions: 1.75”(W)x0.63”(H)x1.38”(D)
Shishi is translated as "lion” but it can also refer to a deer or dog with magical properties and the power to repel evil spirits. A pair of shishi traditionally stand guard outside the gates of Japanese Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. The Shishi are traditionally depicted in pairs, one with mouth open and one with mouth closed. The open/closed mouth relates to Ah (open mouth) and Un (closed mouth). These two sounds symbolize beginning and end, birth and death, or all possible outcomes (from alpha to omega) in the cosmic dance of existence.