On the way to see the Terracotta Warriors, we stopped at a large craft store where they sold intricate silk weavings, ornate carved furniture, lacquer ware and porcelain objects. I fell in love with the detailed work on this little lion, as I watched a woman making one similar to him. The body might be from a mold, but all the detailed scrolling, each individual tooth, the eyes etc. are added on by hand, before it is fired and glazed. I picked this little guy up to admire him and the shop owner told me the story behind this particular figure. “These lions”, he began, “are considered good luck in China. You can put your money and your most valuable jewelry inside the lion.” (The mention of jewelry got my attention right away!). “The sharp teeth protect your valuables from theft”, he continued.
Then turning the lion around and pointing to the area under the tail, he added, “And, see, there’s no hole in the back, so your money and jewelry can’t come out!”
That sold me! I bought the little lion and brought him home with me!