Sword Lion - 安平劍獅 | Fantasy Art – Abysm Internal
Lion · 安平劍獅

Lion · 安平劍獅

After I arrived to Tainan, Taiwan the first time looking to improve my Chinese language skills, it didn't take long for me to fall in love with this city, medium sized, chill, beautiful, full of warm people, incredible temples made of eye candy, old alleys with tiny boutique shops where you can find about anything, it has more god parades and festivals than any other city I know of, and every time I get out there to explore I learn something new, I don't get tired of it. It is in Tainan's old port-district called Anping that this particular symbol can be found guarding many houses, businesses and temples.

Find it as "Lion".

Lions are a common motif in Chinese Culture that serve as a talisman of protection against bad Feng Shui, evil energies or as a laidback person would say “bad vibes”.

The Anping Lion is special due to its legend and the fact that it carries one or two swords in its mouth, it has become a known symbol from the Anping District of Tainan City, Taiwan.

The legend says that in older times, the density of population caused houses to be very close together, created very narrow alleys and caused a lot of strange angles and Fengshui taboos (bad design, in other words). Some people became constantly sick, therefore the Anping lions were placed to confront these offensive design blunders and scare the bad energies away.

These are the colors I made so far, click to go to the art prints:

Taiwan Anping Lion by Abysm Internal

Taiwan Anping Lion by Abysm Internal

Taiwan Anping Lion by Abysm Internal

Taiwan Anping Lion by Abysm Internal

Blue

Red

Gold

Purple White

Taiwan Anping Lion by Abysm Internal

Taiwan Anping Lion by Abysm Internal

Taiwan Anping Lion by Abysm Internal

Taiwan Anping Lion by Abysm Internal

Black & White

Gothic

Bloody White Goth

Pastel Goth

Taiwan Anping Lion by Abysm Internal

Taiwan Anping Lion by Abysm Internal

 

 

Green

Pastel Black

 

 


Following is some of the symbology used:

Traditional Chinese Characters:

  • 出 入 平 安* —> When you leave have a safe and peaceful trip, take care.
  • 趨 吉 避 凶 —> Seek/tend towards good luck, and avoid calamity/bad luck.
  • 避 邪 護 身  —> Avoid evil (spirits) and protect the body (health).

*Fun fact: 平安 (Ping An) means safe, at peace. These are the same characters of the name of the district, just backwards 安平 (Anping).

Colors:
Two of the most traditional colors are Cyan Blue with black and white, and the Vermillion Red versions.
Red to represent and protect the wealthy, and blue to protect the lay people (the original would not have 王 in the forehead).

The Seven Star Sword:
A lion that bites the seven-star sword is combined with Taoism. According to legend, the seven-star sword is the magic weapon of Taoist ancestor Zhang Tianshi. It is named after the seven stars of the Big Dipper. It has the functions of exorcising evil and eliminating evil.

Crossed double swords:
This sword is also a seven-star sword, and the double sword in the mouth is to strengthen the power of warding off evil spirits.

Bagua Tai Chi Diagram:
In Taoist customs, Tai Chi diagrams have the function of turning bad luck into good fortune. The taboo of Feng Shui.

Bat:
In Chinese "bat" (蝠) and “Good Fortune, Happiness” (福) share the same pronunciation (Fú), therefore painting a bat is an additional way of expressing good fortune without expressly using language.


Bats are often painted around the sword lion totem, and the bats facing each other represent "Blessings and Qis".

The role of the Sword Lion is:
1. To ward off evil spirits: (辟邪)
The lion is the king of all beasts, and its majestic inviolability can be used to block evil spirits and ward off evil spirits.

2. Anzhai: (安宅)
It can avoid the taboos of Feng Shui, it is a ward off evil things for the house, and it can block the evil spirits outside the house, so as to relieve the evil of the house.

3. Blessing: (祈福)
Anping is a seaport, and most of the residents use fishing as their business. Facing the unpredictable sea, the sword lion has the sustenance of praying for safety. Combined with the bat totem, it also contains auspicious meaning.

 

The Making of the Anping Lion:

Some of the process images, and a video of how it was painted, 52 hours compressed in 7 minutes (not counting other 20+ hours of making the sketches and line work).


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