Believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits, Chinese Guardian Lions originated and became popular in Chinese Buddhism, before spreading throughout Asia. Also called Foo Dogs, the winged lions are usually depicted in pairs and have traditionally stood in front of Chinese palaces, tombs and homes. Usually carved from decorative stone, such as marble and granite or cast in bronze or iron, the cost of these materials restricted the Guardian Lions to wealthy families.
Often depicted facing each other, a male leaning his paw upon an embroidered ball (representing supremacy over the world), and a female restraining a playful cub that is on its back (representing nurture). Symbolically, the female fu lion protects those dwelling inside (the living soul within), while the male guards the structure. The coin design by Ing Ing Jong takes this approach.
The fu on the left is clearly the male, the fu on the right holding down a balled-up cub as in the legend. Both sit on a pile of traditional Chinese currency, distinguished by the rectangular hole through the centere of each one. This represents the wealth and good fortune the Guardian Lions are meant to bring. The obverse is a typical unadorned one from the Perth Mint, employing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Jody Clark.
The 1oz silver bullion coin has a 50,000 mintage and is supplied encapsulated. The proof versions are also struck to a high-relief and weigh in at 2oz each, both in gold and silver. Those two issues are presnted in nice wooden boxes, as you would expect given the higher prices. The Double Pixiu range is exclusively distributed by Hong kong dealer LPM, and should be available to purchase in a few hours time. Well worth a good look, this is a fine addition to the Perth Mints selection of Asian culture themed numismatics and bullion.