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Okinawan Shisa Dog Illustrations

A Creative Pool project by Linda Baritski aka Season of Victory (United Kingdom)

Shisa dogs are traditional Ryukyuan guardians, a cross between a lion and a dog, seen everywhere in Okinawa (my birthplace). They’re found in pairs, guarding doorways, gates, and rooftops from evil spirits. 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.