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Lions, Fu Dogs and Bears (OH MY!)

Updated on June 19, 2013

Unique Animal Sculptures of Lions, Fu Dogs and Bears (OH MY!)

Animals make fascinating subjects for artists. Here you'll find unique sculptures of lions, fu dogs, bears, cats, wolves and other animals. I'll showcase my sculptures plus other artist's creations.

I'll also include interesting facts about the animals in the sculptures and links to animals organizations and artists websites so you can find as much art as you desire.

I create mostly in clay. I love the way it feels in my hands; how I can manipulate it; how I can add to a sculpture or take from it by simply pinching it. I enjoy carving in wood and have a stone piece that has been started but not completed.

Sculpture: Bast Artist: Frankie Kangas

Photo: 2006 Copyright Frankie Kangas

My Latest News

Frankie Kangas in new book of artists

I'm in the book, Artists of the Mendocino Coast, Vol. 2. It just got my copy and it's gorgeous. I'm so excited and humbled being among the incredible artists in this book!

I've been told that the Fort Bragg area has the largest number of artists per capita than any place in the United States. And it is an amazing place to live and do art.

Nanuk, Lord of the Ice on left podium

Nanuk, Lord of the Ice on left podium
Nanuk, Lord of the Ice on left podium

What Kind Of Animal Do You Want To See? - Tell Me What You Want

What Kind Of Animal Sculptures Would You Like To See?

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How I Got Started As An Artist

I Started Late, But With A Fury

I was hooked on sculpture after seeing some art works by Michelangelo in a museum when I was seven. From then on I dreamed of someday working in clay and creating pieces like his. Why clay? I don't know. All I know is that all of my life, I've imagined myself working with clay.

But I spent the first half of my life building a business career in Silicon Valley (California). At age of 48, I retired from business, moved to the Fort Bragg (California), and began taking art classes at the College of the Redwoods. My initial training in sculpture gave me the opportunity to work with a variety of media: wood, stone, wire, wax, bronze, cement and clay. I found that working with clay was my true vocation, turning vision into reality.

Working with clay satisfies some deep tactile sense in me. I've found I do my best work when I can include both additive and subtractive modes, which isn't possible with many other media. I like being able to push and pull, pinch and twist -- to manipulate the clay into whatever shape I want at any time I want.

My sculptures incorporate a variety of finishing techniques -- raku, saggar, horsehair, stains and underglazes, plus both low-fire and high-fire glazes. Most of my work is stylized animal figures, including lions, bears and "fu dogs" (Chinese temple lions). I also create other abstract sculpture.

In addition to on-going art classes and almost obsessive research, I am studying under the tutelage of an accomplished local sculptor.

I donate 10% of all sculpture sales to the National Wildlife Federation to help save Polar Bears from extinction. I also donates 10% of all Internet sales to Big Cat Rescue to help big cats at their sanctuary in Florida.


lion mask
lion mask

Lions Sculpture Called "Nine Lives"

Here is one of my latest sculptures. I am fascinated by drawings and painting of pictures within pictures but have never seen it done in sculpture form, so I came up with this idea of a sculpture of a lion face, but made up a several lions. Below you can see the original drawing and the end result. It looks like it was carved from wood because instead of glazing it, I used stains, acrylics and waxes. For information on pricing, contact me at

Nine Lives -- Can you find all 9 lions?

Nine Lives -- Can you find all 9 lions?
Nine Lives -- Can you find all 9 lions?
lion head sculpture
lion head sculpture

Young King

Ceramic - High Fire Glaze

This one-of-a-kind sculpture was individually hand-made using slab-built clay construction techniques and an armature of newspaper. As the sculpture dried, the newspaper was removed, the piece was bisque fired, then a coating of glaze was sprayed on the sculpture and it was high fired.

Size: 12 1/2" High x 10 1/2" Wide x 12" Deep

Young King and NWF

I donated "Young King", the sculpture displayed above to the National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) in 2008 dinner and auction event at Grant's Farm in St. Louis, MO.

NWF and Adolphus Busch are hosting the event to raise money to save and enhance wetland habitat that is home and haven to a myriad of wild creatures, including thousands of migrating waterfowl. Julie Scardina of Sea World/Busch Gardens fame will MC the event.

lion mother and cub sculpture
lion mother and cub sculpture

Lion, Mother and Cub

Ceramic - Horsehair Raku

This one-of-a-kind sculpture was individually hand-made using slab-built clay construction techniques. The handcrafted piece was bisqued fired then during the raku firing, horsehair was burned onto the sculpture. As the hair is consumed by fire it twists and turns, producing a unique pattern. The sculpture was then scrubbed, waxed and buffed.

Size: 4" High x 6" Wide x 7 1/2" Deep

lion head sculpture
lion head sculpture


Ceramic Lion Sculpture

This one-of-a-kind sculpture was made using a slab of clay over an armature of newspaper. It was bisque fired, sprayed with a glaze, then high-fired at cone 10.

Size: 10" High x 9" Wide x 12" Deep

Sleeping Lion (Mask) by Frankie Kangas

Sleeping Lion (Mask) by Frankie Kangas
Sleeping Lion (Mask) by Frankie Kangas

Video Of Lion Sculptures - Some Of My Work


chinese fu dog
chinese fu dog

Just What Is A Fu Dog or Imperial Lion

Interesting Facts About Them

I started sculpting Fu Dogs because they are Chinese Lions an I lOVE lions. From the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) until the end of the empire in 1911, Fu Dogs were powerful mythic protectors that have tradionally stood in front of Chinese imperial palaces, emperors tombs, government offices and homes of government officials and wealthy.

* Fu Dogs or Foo Dogs are also known as Imperial Lions, Temple Lions, Guardian Lions,Shi, or Ra shi da.

* They were traditionally carved from marble and granite or cast in bronze or iron.

* Traditionally presented as a pair with the male on the right and the female on the left.

* Having a pair of Fu Dogs in front of a home was a traditional symbol of a family's wealth or social status.

* Symbolically, the male fu dog guards the structure, while the female protects the inhabitants.

For more details about these mythical creatures click Imperial Gardian Lions

fu dog small
fu dog small

Fu Dog - Small

Ceramic - High Fire

This is the smallest version of my smiling fu dogs

(I create 4 sizes). This one-of-a-kind sculptures was individually hand-made using pinch pot and coil clay construction techniques. When they dried they were sanded then bisque fired. Finally, they were sprayed with a glaze and high fired.

Size: 4" High x 4 1/4" Wide x 6 1/2" Deep

Base: 1 1/4" High x 4 1/2" Wide x 5" Deep

fu dog sculpture
fu dog sculpture

Fu Dog - XLarge

Ceramic - High Fire Glaze

Award Winner

Honorable Mention, Animal Contest

Mendocino Art Center in Mendocino, CA

March of 2007

Traditionally, fu dogs are fierce animals to ward away evil or bad juju. I make mine smiling and jolly. I take the, "I'll change evil into love" approach. This one-of-a-kind sculpture was individually hand-made using slab-built clay construction techniques and an armature of newspaper. As the sculpture dried, the newspaper was removed, the piece was bisque fired, then a coating of glaze was sprayed on the sculpture and it was high fired.

Size: 13" High x 11" Wide x 10" Deep

Base: 1 1/2" High x 10 1/2" Wide x 16 1/2" Deep

Topiary Fu Dogs In China

Topiary Fu Dogs In China
Topiary Fu Dogs In China

Asian Qilin / Kirin / Kylin Chimera carved from Qingtian black mountain stone

Genuine hand carved jade, playful fu dog / lion, fitted wood stand included

Genuine jade, hand carved fu dog with cub, fitted wood stand included

Other Books On Chinese Sculpture


Polar Bear Sculpture Comes to LIFE

"Nanuk, Lord of the Ice"

This one-of-a kind ceramic sculpture breaks free and becomes live. See the next section for more pictures of this sculpture.

Anatomy Of A Polar Bear Scupture

bearing three
bearing three

Bearing Three

Ceramic - High Fire Glaze

This one-of-a-kind sculpture was individually hand-made using slab-built clay construction techniques. The handcrafted piece was then bisque fired. Both under-glazes and high fire glazes were sprayed on the sculpture. Then it was high fired.

Size: 7" High x 13 1/2" Wide x 15 1/2" Long

stone bear sculpture
stone bear sculpture

Stone Bear

Ceramic - Horsehair Raku

One-of-a-kind bear sculpture was individually hand-made using slab-built clay construction techniques. The handcrafted piece was burnished before being bisque fired. Using the special firing technique known as "raku", real horsehair was dropped onto the sculpture. As the fire consumes the hair, it twists and turns, producing an embedded one-of-a-kind pattern. After being scrubbed, the sculpture was waxed an buffed.

Size: 4 1/2" High x 4" Wide x 8" Long

This is my most favorite animal sculpture book -- EVER. It hasn't made it into my library yet. It sits next to my recliner where I can pick it up and thumb through it at will. And, believe me, I flip through it often.

The art ranges from artful realism to provocative surrealism (including animal-human hybrids) and from humorous to bazaar. And, it features every animal imaginable. In my humble opinion, it is a must for every artist's library.

For more information, click 500 Animals in Clay

Van Gogh sold 1 picture during his life and called himself a poor bungler who can't sell a picture.

Dick Blick is one of my favorite places to shop for everything to do with art. I've purchased everything from paper to portfolios and clay and glazes to sculpting tools.

To check them out, click on the banner on the left or Dick Blick Art Materials

Or, get a FREE 624-page Art Supply Catalog by clicking

Free 624-page Art Supply Catalog!

Artists: Why Create Videos Of Your Work

I've found that taking pictures of my art and turning them into videos is an excellent way to get it seen by more people. They've helped me get visitors to my website and has even converted a few into sales.

You can also get an inexpensive morphing program and do what I did with my photo shown here. It is fun to watch and gets lots of attention. It makes people want to see more of your work -- if it's their style. Art is after art is personal -- everyone has different tastes.

I've included some of my videos in this lens. I have more at Sculpture Video Showcase.

Another Great Art Video

This is a drawing video and although this is not a sculpture video, I had to add it because it is so incredible. Check it out. You won't be sorry.

Another fabulous book from my library. The sculptures are creative, fun and inspiring. A "must have" book IMHO.

For more information, click 500 Figures in Clay

More Fine Art Books - Must Read books

What books do you have in your library that you think everyone should read? Add to this list your favorites and vote for them. Come back to see what books you're library is missing!

For Fun Pictures And Facts About Polar Bears

Check Out This Lens

If you like this site, you should see my polar bear site. To go there right now, click Are You Polar Bear Aware?

Cibachrome print of a polar bear embryo by award winning international photographers, Daniel & Geo Fuchs. To see it and more of their fabulous work, click The Bulger Gallery.

By the way, how many embryos do you count?

Want To Link To This Lens? Here's How


Here's the HTML code to copy and paste:
Lions, Fu Dogs and Bears

This work is covered by copyright and can not be reprinted

in any matter (physical or digital) without prior written consent.

Copyright 2008-2013 Frankie Kangas All rights reserved.

Please let me know what you like; what you don't like, and what you'd like to see more of. Thanks! Purrs and bear hugs, Frankie

Guest Book - Please Give Me Some Feedback

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great sculpting of animals,very useful information on this lens,

      thanks for sharing your valuable information

      face sculpting treatment in mumbai

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 7 years ago from Iowa

      Your work is outstanding. Really lovely.

    • profile image

      scar4 7 years ago

      My favorite animal is bear and I own a huge Teddy Bear, lol lol !

      Beautiful lay-out!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      I didn't know you sculpted, it was great to discover your work here. I'm especially impressed that you actually created a chess set, sounds like a fun project but not an easy one and the result is wonderful. Can tell you love animals a great deal (oh there are just a few hints of that around!).

    • profile image

      GSMSMS 7 years ago

      Great collection. I love lions

    • missbat profile image

      missbat 8 years ago

      I love lions, and I even have a fu dog tattoo. Excellent lens!

    • groovyfind profile image

      Samantha Devereux 8 years ago from Columbia Mo

      Wow...This is So well done!

    • profile image

      AbbyJ 8 years ago

      Wow! I LOVE your work, especially Pride, it reminded me of how I envisioned Aslan when I first read the lion the witch & the wrdrobe as a child. I'd love to hear your views on my lens 'ooak polymer clay baby dolls' if you get a chance :)

      Abby x

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • NatureMaven profile image

      NatureMaven 8 years ago

      All I can say is WOW. I lensrolled this to my Lion Lover Gifts lens. Happy creating!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I finally found the 9 lions in 9 Lives. This is all so very fascinating. Those transforming pictures are amazing. You have really done a great job and enjoyed this visit a lot. Thanks for sharing your talents.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 9 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      This is another great lens to go with your lenses on bears. Welcome to the Art & Design Group.

    • cannedguds lm profile image

      cannedguds lm 9 years ago

      hehehe...I don't think I can do this to my JRT named Spin! He keeps on spinning around and around! why, I can't even take a formal picture of him and planned to put it on my Jack Russell Terrier checks ! Anyway, thanks for sharing this lens and if I ever get Spin to sit still and do his bust, you'll be the first one to know! 5 stars for your lens!

    • Rolas LM profile image

      Rolas LM 9 years ago

      Very good lens! Keep it!

      Please write comment what you think about my lenses: - Funny cats - Funny dog pictures - Funny pictures!

      & please check my other lenses.


      Best regards

    • Karicor profile image

      Karicor 9 years ago

      Hi Frankie, very impressed with your sculptures; the 9 Lives is just awesome. I'm actually quite the Fu Dog lover myself, though more the Thai bronze variation. Maybe I can send you some pictures of them. Oh, love Knut as well, especially since he's a German like me! Great work here!

    • profile image

      lhiller 9 years ago

      Frankie, I visited this lens when I first became a member here, but I don't think I told you how much I enjoyed it. Thought you would bite, I guess. Love the morphing and all your sculptures. Looked at your website too. Super!

    • wahlees profile image

      Barry Wah Lee 9 years ago from Auckland

      Great Lens,

      I cannot remember myself,

      but here is a good place to remind people on which side left or right, to put each fu dog.On each of the pair, the foot is on a ball on one side.Which is it?

    • profile image

      Marelisa 9 years ago

      I saw the nine lions on the sculpture! Very creative and original. You're very talented. 5 star lens.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 9 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      Wonderful scupltures, the morphing photos were mesmerizing! Loved you lens.

    • Timbers profile image

      Timbers 9 years ago

      Hi- You have a cool lens and do nice work! Hi from a new fellow member of the Online Art Gallery Artists group. I hope you can come visit me at:

      TimberSong: Artist Woodturning & Wood Lathe Work

      I gave you 5 stars!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Nice lens! 5 stars given! :)

    • profile image

      beachbum_gabby 9 years ago

      wonderful lens. Keep promoting the animal rights. More power!

    • profile image

      mmason 9 years ago

      Congrats on a 5 star lens. I love the morphing and info and links. I especially love your Nine Lives sculpture. What a great idea. I favorited it too. Mitch

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Hi Frankster sGreat Lens. I have also created a lens in same niche . Hope u like it Here’s a brief intro:

      click here

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 10 years ago from Royalton

      A Fairy Tale Wolf was checking out your lens and liked it so well that he is sending you a virtual cup of coffee to hang on your wall.

    • profile image

      thomasz 10 years ago

      Wow really great lens. Come visit my lenses.

    • j3nny3lf lm profile image

      j3nny3lf lm 10 years ago

      What a fantastic lens! 5 stars and I lensrolled you on my polymer clay lens. Keep it up! :)

    • profile image

      GaryM1 10 years ago

      What a great lens. Lots of information. Spent a lot of time here reading your lens. Will be back.

    • profile image

      KingsFan 10 years ago

      Awesome! ***** 5 stars!

    • profile image

      Sidmoto 10 years ago

      Love the lens! Great pictures, info, and fun. Tons of gift ideas for family and friends. I'm giving you 5 STARS and have added to my favorites list.

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      Great site. I love your morphs and videos of your work.

    • profile image

      kautagne 10 years ago

      AWESOME morphing!!! 5 STARS to you, will be back.

    • teamlane profile image

      teamlane 10 years ago

      Wow! Great lens. I love the changing images you have here. Pretty cool! A 5 to you! Consider stopping by our Recycling lens and giving a rating. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      Frankie, your Website is awesome --you are truly a gifted artist. I love your sculptures of bears and promise to bring back info re your beloved fu dogs when I visit China later this month.

    • profile image

      mmason 10 years ago

      Excellent lens. I'll be back to see more. 5 stars.

    • profile image

      Janet1 10 years ago

      Love your sculpture morphing into a real polar bear! WOW! 5 stars. Coming back to see what else you add.