Dvarapalas (temple lions) traditionally stand guard outside the gates of shrines, Buddhist temples and porticos of homes. In Japan, they are referred to as Shishi (or Jishi) and can also refer to a deer or dog with magical properties and the power to repel evil spirits. In China they are referred to as Foo Dogs and are traditionally depicted in pairs. In Thailand they are referred to as Singha, the true king of the forest. His roar echoes to great distances, terrifying all forest animals, great and small, and stand at the entrance of Thai temples, guarding the sacred Buddhist teachings. In Indonesia and Cambodia they are referred to as ‘Dvarapalas’ and are generally armed with lances and clubs and can often times have a bulky physique, while the Dvarapalas in Thailand are leaner and are portrayed in standing straight position holding the club downward in the center. Dvarapala sculpture in Thailand is made of a high-fired stoneware clay covered with a pale, almost milky glaze known as celadon. Ceramic sculptures of this type were produced during the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya periods, between the 14th and 16th centuries. This is process still exist today and the pieces are produced at several kiln complexes located in northern Thailand. The main function of Dvarapalas is to protect the temples. Dvarapalas in Cambodia may be seen, for example, at various temples in and around Angkor Wat.
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