Imperial guardian lion statues, also named lion dogs or foo dogs, have traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, residences of government officials and affluent individuals as they were believed to bestow powerful protective benefits. They were also extensively employed in other artistic contexts, for example on door-knockers, pottery, or on other utensils, such as the case of this paperweight.
The invention of paper has been attributed to the Han Dynasty, supposedly realised by a court official and presented to the emperor. Paper had major impact on the dissemination of Han literary and artistic culture. Zoomorphic paperweights made in clay, stone and bronze were abundantly produced in the Han Dynasty, as important study tools used by ancient Chinese scholars.
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