Shisa (シーサー) (Okinawan: siisaa) (shishi or shisaa) is a traditional Ryukyuan decoration, often in pairs, resembling a cross between a lion and a dog, from Okinawan mythology. People place pairs of shisa on their rooftops or flanking the gates to their houses. Shisa are wards, believed to protect from some evils. When in pairs, the left shisa traditionally has a closed mouth, the right one an open mouth. The open mouth wards off evil spirits, and the closed mouth to keeps good spirits in.
These lion dogs are everywhere. They are Okinawa for me. One tells evil spirits to take a hike, the other keeps good spirits cuddly in the kitchen.
Ben spent a good chunk of his time on Okinawa modeling a Shisa at Yamada san’s workshop. Ben is a talented and extraordinarily meticulous clay man. This is his Shisa which is now waiting to be fired.
In every butt and ben, nook and cranny, you find Shisa staring out at you.