Sunday, March 18, 2012

Okinawa - Shisa

We saw them everywhere in Okinawa. The half dog half lion looking Shisa who according to Ryukyuan legend are protectors of the island peoples. On roof tops, beside entry gates, on lawns and in all the gift shops there were pairs of Shisa. One of the pair has an open mouth to ward off evil spirits and one a closed mouth to keep in good spirits.

Guarding the gate to a cottage.

A closer view of a Shisa with closed mouth to keep in the good spirits.

A large closed mouth shisa at a resort entrance.

The other one with mouth open stands across the road.

In Naha near Shurijo Castle I noticed serveral shisa on the wall surrounding the
Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts. I wonder if these were made by art students.

My favorite.

I couldn't resist bringing this pair home with me when I saw them in a gift shop.

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