Travel Photograph: Imperial Guardian Lion (Male)

Travel photograph depicts a bronze statue of a male Chinese guardian lion outside the Hall of Mental Cultivation in the Imperial Palace (aka Forbidden City), Beijing, China. The hall was built in 1537 during the Ming Dynasty.

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Since the Han Dynasty (around 200 BC) statues of guardian lions have traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy. They were believed to have powerful mystic protective benefits and are typically presented in pairs: a male resting his paw on a ball (which represents supremacy over the world) and a female restraining a playful cub on its back (representing nurture; not shown).

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