FOO DOG TATTOO: IMPERIAL LION

asian-tattoo-robert-pho-vegas

There’s a reason why so many have referred to artist Robert Pho as a master tattooist.

Asian style tattoos have long been a staple in the world of tattoo. Regardless if the work is done in black and grey or color, it’s not necessarily the medium which dictates it’s impact, but the style. Asian art in itself is unique because of the ritualistic images and mediums found in the art. There’s a rich cultural heritage behind the imagery, and it comes as no surprise that this timeless style has impacted the lives of many.

The tattoo above was done by Robert Pho and his work speaks for itself. The central focus of the tattoo is the Chinese guardian lion, which is often referred to as an Imperial Guardian Lions or in Western culture as a “Foo Dog”. The lion has become common sight and the lion is said to safeguard the health and wealth of those who own or wear one.

They were traditionally found in front of Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy, from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), and were believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits. They are also used in other artistic contexts, for example on door-knockers, and in pottery. Pairs of guardian lion statues are still common decorative and symbolic elements at the entrances to restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and other structures, with one sitting on each side of the entrance.