As you might have assumed from the name, the Foo Dog must have something to do with dogs. Well, it can’t be further from the truth, since the Foo Dog isn’t a dog at all. This mystical beast is actually a lion that has been a part of Chinese and Japanese cultures for ages. According to Asian mythology, Foo Dogs are guardian lions whose job is to watch over temples and ward off the evil. Foo Dogs statues were often placed in front of Buddha and Shinto temples as well as other important buildings. It is believed that Fu Dogs bring luck and prosperity.
The fact that Foo Dogs are an important part of both Japanese and Chinese cultures explains the popularity of Foo Dog tattoos. So, if you are into Asian mythology, the following Fu Dog tattoo designs are for you.
Foo Dog Tattoo Meaning
One shouldn’t forget that the initial role of Foo Dogs is protection and security. As with stone statues of Foo Dogs, people choose to get tattoos with these mythical creatures for self-protection and good luck. Also, a Foo Dog means dominance and survival.
As we were saying, Foo Dogs commonly go in pairs symbolizing Yin Yang, male and female. Of course, you can go for a tattoo depicting just one Foo Dog, but it is better to have both Foo Dogs placed together because in this way they will complement each other creating balance.
You need also keep in mind that despite the fact that Chinese and Japanese lions have a lot of things in common, there are differences. We highly recommend you to do your own research before getting a tattoo with an image of Foo Dog. it is also important to find a skilled tattoo artist who has got experience in Traditional Japanese tattooing.
Not only Foo Dog tattoos carry deep meanings, but their placement as well.
If you want a Foo Dog to protect yourself from betrayal, gossips and negative energies, have a Foo Dog tattoo done on your back. Imagine this – mysterious Foo Dog tattoo on the back. A pair of Chinese lions are sitting symmetrically at the entrance of the palace, one is holding its paw on the cub, and the other one on a ball. It means that your home is under the protection from sinister forces, disaster, and misfortune.
In case, you are very protective when it comes to your emotions and feelings, it is better to place Fu Dogs tattoo on the chest. In this way, you will show people that it’s not easy for others to take a place in your heart.
Having both Foo Dogs tattooed on each arm will mean that you have a guardian on both sides. Remember that a male Foo Dog with his paw on the sphere is placed on the right and a female Foo Dog with her cub in on the left.
Sometimes people have Foo Dogs tattoos done to become more successful since these creatures stand for prosperity and success.
People believe that Foo Dogs are fearless and courageous. That’s why a tattoo depicting Foo Dogs can serve as a reminder that a person should stay strong despite the hardships.
Awesome Foo Dog Tattoo Ideas
Foo Dogs tattoos look better when they are rather big. That’s why most people choose to get a Fu Dog tattoo on the chest, back, shoulder or leg. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t go for a smaller Foo Dog tattoo design and place it on the forearm or hand, for example. What we are trying to say here is that a bigger tattoo allows going into more detail.
Being a part of Traditional Japanese tattooing for many years now, the Foo Dogs are the subjects that commonly used in Japanese bodysuits.
All in all, the choice of tattoo placement always depends on you. We can’t tell you where you should get a tattoo done.
The Best Fu Dog Tattoos
Another thing you should take into your consideration is the color of your Foo Dog tattoo. Speaking of traditional Foo Dogs, they were usually made of stone therefore gray is the typical color for a tattoo as well. However, you may also go for a red foo dog with purple dots and ruby eyes. Such colors as blue and yellow are also used quite often to depict a Foo Dog.
Traditional Japanese Foo Dogs Tattoo Designs
Even though people often choose Foo Dogs as a separate tattoo design, it is possible to find other images to accompany the Foo Dog tattoo. Here we will name the most commonly used subjects to combine with Foo dogs:
- Flowers like cherry blossom, peony, lotus, and chrysanthemum would be perfect complementation if you want a Foo Dog tattoo sleeve
- Birds, snakes, koi fish and dragons may also be used to create a beautiful tattoo.
- The images of samurai or geisha are just great if you are looking for an additional design for your Foo Dog tattoo.
- Different masks and Japanese deities can be used together with the foo dog
- When it comes to the background, you have a wide range of options: from clouds to waves and wind bars.
- Foo Dogs are often depicted with bamboo symbolizing growth and good fortune.
Chinese Lion Tattoo vs. Japanese Lion Tattoo
In Japan, the statutes of Foo Dogs (Komainu) were also used to protect the entrance to buildings. One lion was usually shown with a closed mouth whereas second lion would have an open mouth pronouncing the “Om” sound which is mantra in Buddhism. Other people believe that lions pronounce “a-un”, where “a” stands for the beginning, and “un” symbolizes the end, pointing out on the circle of life.
In China, these lions are frequently used during the celebration of New Year in the form of lion dance. For Chinese a male foo dog symbolizes domination and strength.
Ideas for Shisa Dog Tattoo
Male Foo Dog is often depicted as a fierce creature. That’s why you may find a lot of Foo Dog tattoo designs where he is shown with exposed teeth, sharp claws, and angry eyes. Though it doesn’t mean that only men can opt for this kind of a tattoo.
Traditional tattoos with Foo Dogs commonly come in color. However, you may see a lot of black and gray designs. Such a depiction imitates the statues of Foo Dogs in the first place. Often the foo dogs are depicted as gray statues with ruby or red eyes. It represents happiness, energy, and value. If you want a unique tattoo design that is meaningful in both Asian history and symbolism, a Foo Dog may be for you.