The Shisa is a figure with a lion’s head and a dog’s body, and they are found throughout the Ryukyu Islands. This traditional guardian can be seen on rooftops where it is believed to protect its inhabitants.
When Shisa are presented in pairs, one has its mouth open to scare off evil spirits. Whereas the other Shisa, has its mouth closed to keep in the good spirits. The personalities of these icons can vary dramatically…from serious to colorful, as seen in the Ryukyu surface design below.