Foo Dogs

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Customer
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Foo Dogs

Post by Customer » Jul 31, 2011 5:02 pm

Gary,

Good day, this is Patrick B. About a month ago I ordered a translation of "warrior spirit" in Chinese from you for a tattoo, and I am extremely satisfied. I have gotten multiple compliments from fellow martial artists and my platoon members. That being said, I am thinking about getting some more work done.

I am thinking about getting a Foo Dog on my back (on my opposite shoulder blade from Yong Shi Jing Shen) and I was wondering what you knew about Foo Dogs (I have some knowledge but was wondering what you know about them) and if a Foo Dog tattoo would go well with my current calligraphy tattoo.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide,

Patrick B.

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Gary
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Post by Gary » Jul 31, 2011 5:07 pm

I don't really have much in the way of "foo dog" artwork. They don't tend to end up in paintings unless they are part of the architecture in a painting of a building.

One important thing to note is that these are not dogs at all. The whole "foo dog" title was apparently made up by some westerner, and it stuck. These are guardian lions in Chinese culture. For centuries, these were found at the left and right of the main doorway to the houses of prominent nobles or ranking officials. In theory, they guard the house from evil. However, in practice, they served more to show social standing. Lower-level people could only have un-carved stone blocks to "guard" their homes.

For those with the guardian lions, the larger the lion the higher your standing in the community.

One of the lions is male, and the other is female. The male will have a ball under one paw. The female has a small lion cub under one of her paws. If you find any without these features, they are probably fake ones made for sale at Walmart or Target.

As far as whether the image of a guardian lion is appropriate when matched up with the characters for "warrior spirit"...
It's not the most natural fit. But guards and soldiers (warriors) do have a lot in common. I'll run this idea past the native translator on Monday and see what she thinks.

-Gary.

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Gary
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Post by Gary » Aug 2, 2011 4:32 pm

Cat just emailed me back on this. She wasn't sure how to explain this, so she sent it to me to filter it first. However, I think she got it right...
I'm not sure it's a good idea to do "foo dogs" as a tattoo... as you know, it's a pair of stone lions, for good luck, dignity, justice... but if you put it on your body, it's kind of like marking yourself as a stone lion, which either makes people feel that you are labeling yourself as an animal, or you think you are a judge or something...

...not that great for tattoo...

-Cat.
It seems the main suggestion is that you hold off on this idea.

-Gary.

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