Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Do you hear that? Oh, I'm sorry its the loud druming of my fingers. Has the I-171H arrived? NO! Am I starting to go crazy? YES!

Whilst we wait, I thought I’d entertain you with some stories…

Do you know what a Foo Dog is?

Foo Dogs are ancient sacred dogs of Asia who guard Buddhist temples. These dogs appear similar to a lion, which is a sacred animal in the Buddhist religion. The Chinese word for Buddha is “Fo” hence “Foo dog” or dog of Buddha. Their first appearance in Chinese art was from 208 BC to about 221 AD at which point they disappeared for about 400 years only to reappear during the T’ang Dynasty from 618 to 917 AD. The Foo Dog was popular during these times as they were believed to be the protector of sacred buildings and a defender of the law. They were commonly placed at the entrances to businesses, homes, and temples to scare away evil spirits.

Why, do you ask, am I bringing this up? Well after we picked up our documents at the Chinese Consulate, we walked around to the main entrance to take pictures and behold there were beautiful huge Foo Dogs guarding the entrance to the building. The Foo Dog has been something special to SJ and me since our wedding.

We were married in Salem, MA and then had our reception at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. I was an art history major and SJ is a lover of boats and all things from East Asia. The PEM is a maritime museum specializing in art and artifacts from East Asia. HELLO! Could the place be more perfect for us??? I think not. So 9 years ago this September we had our reception in the East India Hall at the PEM where our guests were free to wander the museum to enjoy the collection during our event. There are two Foo Dogs outside the East India Hall that stand nearly 1 story tall. In the months leading up to our wedding we became quite affectionate toward “our Foos” as we visited the museum finalizing our plans.

After the wedding we moved to CT and took jobs in NYC. Right after moving in, we stumbled upon a crazy garden shop selling tons of garden statues. We found two little Foo dogs and of course had to have them. They have guarded the front door to a CT apartment, a NYC apartment, and of course the front door to our home now. For those of you who know us well, I will tell you they did not guard the front door to our last house but the back door. I am not sure they were able to fully protect us from the evil spirits.

When I was in NYC at the consulate taking the picture of the kids with the Foo Dog, I felt I was having a “full circle” moment as Oprah likes to coin it. The kids, the dog, the adoption, our wedding so inexplicably linked.

Now the PEM has a Chinese house. No, really, a house from southeast China. A few years back they bought the Yin Yu Tang House, dismantled it, and brought it to Salem. A team of Chinese builders along with local workman reassembled it at the PEM. For those of you interested in art and artifacts from East Asia, if you are ever in Boston, the PEM is a great place to visit. It is about 25 minutes north of the city but worth the trek. Salem was one of the earliest ports in America and therefore was a key participant in trade from the Far East. There is more to Salem than witches!

1 comment:

Meg said...

Wow- I did not know any of that- thanks for sharing. I have a girlfriend that is so taken with Salem and all of its charm- she visits once a year- now I'd love to join her!!! and if you think the balloon story is funny check today's post and see what else my mom subjected us to- she's a riot!