The Lion – An Imperial Icon

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Ever since prehistoric times, the Lion has never inhabited China naturally… yet the King of Beasts remains an Imperial icon.  To this day, the images of lions are everywhere in the east, such as lion dance, stone lion, and Yin Style Bagua Lion System. The ancient royal families were fond of raising imported lions in imperial gardens. As early as the Western Han Dynasty, Western merchants brought lions to the Mainland.  However, the iconic, noble nature of the lion became widely circulated in China mainly after the introduction of Buddhism. A Song Dynasty written text is inscribed “When Sakyamuni Buddha was born, he pointed one hand to heaven and one hand to earth and said with a lion’s roar: I alone am the honored one in the heavens and on the earth.”