Okinawan Shisa Dog illustration

Shisa dogs are traditional Ryukyuan guardians, a cross between a lion and a dog, seen everywhere in Okinawa (my birthplace). They’re found in pairs, usually guarding doorways, gates and rooftops from evil spirits. A variation of the guardian lions of China, they were first brought to the islands in the 15th century and Okinawan variations created. The one on the left always has a closed mouth and the one on the right always with an open mouth. It’s believed that one is male, one female, but there’s always debate on which is which. Some believe the open mouth shisa is the male, scaring away evil spirits, and the closed mouth shisa is the female preserving calm. Others believe the closed mouth shisa is the male keeping evil out, and the female is open mouthed, spreading positivity and inviting good spirits. This is my illustrated version of the open mouth shisa, inviting good spirits in the new year. I have this as an A3 and A2 print in my shop: Instagram:

Project Roles
Designer, Illustrator
Adobe Illustrator
Illustrations, Posters
Okinawan Shisa Dog illustration