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Dog worship lives on in Guangdong

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[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

If you happen to visit Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, looking closely at the ancient stone dog sculptures at Leizhou Museum makes for a highly rewarding and insightful experience.

The stone dogs, mostly carved out of basalt, have been worshiped as guard gods and highly valuable sculptures by people around the city of Leizhou.

Dog worshiping in Leizhou dates back to before the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), when the Luoyue ethnic group adopted the creature as their totem, according to Leizhou Meseum.

With an extensive history, Leizhou stone dog culture was also included in the national list of intangible cultural heritage in 2008.

The stone dog has since taken on diverse roles, being worshiped as the god of wind and rain, harvest, reproduction, luck, fortune,longevity and justice.

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[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Stone dogs were placed at the entrance of houses, streets, villages, temples, and by wells, rivers and tombs, as well as worshiped in festivals and the first and fifth of days lunar months.

They are carved into different postures, like reclining, squatting and sitting, and are created in various styles, including portrait, abstract, personification and exaggeration.

Symbolic objects are also incorprated into the sculptures, such as the ancient coin, stone drum, bagua pattern (reflecting the eight diagrams in Taoism), anchor, fishing net, xiuqiu (a ball made of strips of silk), snakes and, in more contemporary editions,a tie such as thoseworn with Western suits.

The dogs also come in many species.


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