Authentic shi shi dogs from Japan
Shisa (シーサー Shīsā, Okinawan: shiisaa) is a traditional Ryukyuan cultural artifact and decoration derived from Chinese guardian lions, often seen in similar pairs, resembling a cross between a lion and a dog, from Okinawan mythology. In magic typology, they are sometimes also classified as gargoyle beasts. Shisa are wards, believed to protect from some evils. People place pairs of shisa on their rooftops or flanking the gates to their houses, with the left shisa traditionally having a closed mouth, the right one an open mouth. The open mouth shisa traditionally wards off evil spirits, and the closed mouth shisa keeps good spirits in.