The lions of Marco Polo Bridge have been made by many different artists through the centuries. The original lions are said to have been quite simple but none remain. When the bridge was built, the lions were identical, now each is unique.
Male lions are pictured with an embroideed silk ball under one foot, or in one case, with nothing underfoot. Females have their foot upon a lion cub, or a cub playing or suckling with her. But there is such variety that no one rule can describe them all. One of the lions I have pictured is a male with a cub playing on his back.
The pictures were taken on three different days, two days in 2004 and one in 2005. You will see lions repeated because I was playing with the light on the granite; the colors change with light quality and angle. In part, it is the reflectance of the granite, and in others, because of the inherent color of the granite.
There are 485 carved lions on the Marco Polo bridge. No, I didn't take pictures of them all. There are about thirty lions in this section. When it gets to be a bore, just click the up arrow on the page and return to the index. Or you can do what visitors to the Lugou Qiao do, count the lions. It's very difficult to count the lions, some of them are very small, so small, that only their eyes show beneath their mothers. Pay attention. No fair counting duplicates!
Last update: October 2009
© Marilyn Shea, 2009