Shisa dogs are traditional guardians, a cross between a lion and a dog, seen everywhere in Okinawa. They’re found in pairs, usually guarding doorways, gates and rooftops from evil spirits.
The one on the left always has its mouth closed and the one on the right always with its mouth open. It’s believed that one is male, one female but there’s always debate on which is which.
Some believe the open mouth shisa is the male, scaring away evil spirits, and the closed mouth shisa is the female preserving calm. Others believe the closed mouth shisa is the male keeping evil out, and the female is open mouthed, spreading positivity and inviting good spirits.
I’ve created my version of the shisa dogs, both left (closed mouth) and right (open mouth) versions, as colourful guardians for the house!
Season of Victory / Linda Baritski
printed on Giclée Hahnemühle Bamboo