These Chinese Guardian Lions (sometimes referred to as Temple Dogs or Foo Dogs) will protect your home or business from inauspicious events.
Guardian Lions always come in male - female pairs. When facing the pair, the male is on the right and the female is on the left. They are roughly the same size, but the male has a ball under his right paw, and the female has a lion cub under her left paw.
There are a number of theories about the meaning of the ball and the cub. A common interepretation is that the ball represents the unity of moon and earth, and the mother and cub represent protection and safety.
Historically, Guardian Lions were a status symbol since they were a luxury which could only be afforded by rich families or businesses. Today cast lions, rather than carved ones, are available which make them much more affordable.
For optimum protection, your Guardian Lions should be placed on each side of your front door. This was not feasible for me, so mine are on the fireplace hearth. I guess this just protects me from Santa Claus.
I believe that my lions are cast aluminum coated with a thick strong bronze colored paint. The base seems to be cast concrete with a similar coating. Without looking very closely (and knowing the cost) it is difficult to tell that they are not truly made of bronze. The combined weight of the base and lion is 52 pounds - over 100 pounds for the pair. The base is 7 inches high, 12.5 inches deep, and 8.5 inches wide. The lion itself is 11.5 inches high.
I bought my lions at a Chinese gift store that sells paintings and furniture. I have also seen similar lions for sale on the Internet.