In the ancient world, the lion vied with humans for the top position on the food chain. In the regions were human civilization began, they mark the largest land predator.
Humans both feared and revered these creatures and, to honor their strength, they built effigies in their likeness.
The Chinese were the first to grace their palaces and monuments with protective guardian lions. The tradition arrived with the practice of Buddhism as it spread East from India. Beginning first under the Han Dynasty, statues depicting Asiatic lions soon spread throughout Southeast Asia. They were believed to act as spiritual protectors over the premises they guarded.
Lions also played a significant role in Arthurian legend. In Chretien de Troyes’ medieval romance “Yvain, the Knight of the Lion,” the hero rescues a lion from a serpent. This tale solidified lions as the symbol of the conquest of good over evil through might and valor.
As such, lions accompany the monument of Trafalgar square in London, the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in Sofia, Bulgaria, and a monument in Lucerne, Switzerland that stands in memory of Swiss Guards who lost their lives in combat.
People who wear the lion statue tattoo have a clear perception of good and evil. Life gets complicated, and lines blur, but throughout strife, those who bear the lion statue tattoo rely on their moral compass to steer them through stormy seas to safe coves.