Shisa Picture

A painting that depicts the Shisa or Shishi or Shiisaa and it is a traditional Ryukyuan decoration. From Okinawan mythology, often found in pairs, a shisa resembles a cross between a lion and a dog. Many people put a pair of Shisa on their rooftops or flanking the gates to their houses. Shisa are wards, believed to protect from various evils. Due to the influence of Buddhism, Shisa figurines were often found as a pair with one with an open mouth and the other pair with a closed mouth. The open mouth symbolizes the gesture of expelling evil spirits, while the closed-mouth is supposed to be keeping good spirits in.

The shisa, like the , is a variation of the guardian lions from China . The shisaa, or lion dog, is an Okinawan cultural artifact. In typology, they might be also be classified as gargoyle beasts. They are traditionally used to ward off evil spirits.

Based on the Sanskrit syllabary, alternatively they are pronouncing the first and last part of the sacred syllable "Aum" and the open and closed mouths relate to the sound of Ah and Un. "Ah" is the first letter in the Sanskrit syllabary and symbolizes open mouth, while "Un" is the last letter and it represents a closed mouth and the combination is said to symbolically represents all possible outcomes (from alpha to omega) in the cosmic dance of existence: life and death.
The Shisa, like the Koma-inu (lion dogs), is a variation of the guardian lions like "Fu dogs" from China. When a certain emissary to China returned from one of his voyages to the court at Shuri Castle, he brought with him as a gift for the king a necklace decorated with a small figurine now known as a Shisa dog. The king found it charming and wore it underneath his clothes.

One of the Okinawa legends says that when the village of Madanbashi was terrorized by a sea dragon who ate the villagers and destroyed their property. The king had saved the people and the village using his Shisa necklace. He faced the monster with the Shisa figurine held high, and immediately a giant roar sounded all through the village, a roar so deep and powerful that it even shook the dragon. A massive boulder then fell from heaven and crushed the dragon's tail. He couldn't move, and eventually died.

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The 1974 tokusatsu kaiju film ''Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla'' features a giant shisa monster called King Shisa , who was awakened from its ancient slumber in Okinawa to help Godzilla destroy his mechanical doppelg?nger, Mechagodzilla. This monster was later used in as one of the monsters that were controlled by the Xilians.

The Pokémon Growlithe and its evolution Arcanine are based on the shisa.

The Digimon Seasarmon is based on a shisa, along with Chatsuramon.

In the game The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the talking boat, has a head on the front of the boat resembling a Shisa.
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