What sculptures to see in St. Petersburg: The Shin-Tsa

Los Shin-Tsa de Petrovski

What sculptures to see in St. Petersburg while touring this impressive city. Seeing the sphinxes in St. Petersburg and knowing its history is ideal for a guided excursion. Seeing the Shin-Tsa in St. Petersburg is for you.

See the sphinxes in St. Petersburg

On a trip to Russia it is easy to find all kinds of expressions of almost any culture in the world, and a reflection of this are the statues and monuments that stand on the country.

We have already talked about Egyptian sphinxes and Greek sphinxes that stand as guardians of the bridges they protect. It is now the turn of some curious and amazing sphinxes a little more exotic than the previous ones. These are the Shin-Tsa, strange Chinese sphinxes that stand on their pedestals on the Petrovski boardwalk.

See the Shin-Tsa in St. Petersburg

These sphinxes were a gift from the Chinese in Jilin to Grodekov; who in turn gave them to St. Petersburg in 1907; and it was decided to place them as the guardians of the Petrovski boardwalk on the occasion of their recent reconstruction. These majestic statues rise right on the banks of the Neva River with their protective bearing and would be perpetually contemplating the other side of the river. Contrary to the other sphinxes; These Chinese monuments are not half human but a full-body lion, in fact Shin-Tsa means precisely lion.

In St. Petersburg, there is a tradition of decorating bridges, embankments and buildings with stone lions. The most unusual of them can legitimately be considered the statues of Shih Tzu. Two sculptures representing a lion with a sphere and a lioness with a lion cub are of an impressive size. Each height is 4 meters and 50 centimeters, and weight: 2 tons and 400 kilograms. Located on both sides of the descent to the Neva, the statues that guarded the house of Pedro I de. It was the first residential building built on the seafront. Today it houses a museum where articles belonging to the king are presented.

The sculptures represent monsters of Eastern mythology and have external characteristics taken from a lion and a toad. For the Chinese, the frog is a symbol of wealth and prosperity, and the king of animals has magical powers that protect against enemies and evil spirits. In addition, the beast represents power and success, power and strength.

The sculptures really look menacing and majestic. Looking at them, it seems that lions have won a chest full of air, and their mouths are ready to make a loud roar.

Travel from China to Petersburg

Shih Tzu statues are carved in granite at the beginning of the 20th century in Jilin, located in Manchuria (one of the regions of China), commissioned by the city governor, General Chan. The lions would become the “guards” of the idol, the Chinese pagan temple. But the death of the general in 1904 changed the fate of the monuments.

The government decided to donate sculptures to Amur’s assistant to the Governor General and member of the State Council Nikolai Grodekov. He, in turn, expressed his desire to donate Shi-Tzu lions to the capital of the Russian Empire, St. Petersburg. As Grodekov was interested in studying the culture of Asian countries and, in addition, he was one of the founders of the Oriental Institute in Vladivostok, which opened in 1899, it was an honor for him to pay all transportation costs.

From China to Vladivostok, the statues were delivered by train, and from there they were transported to St. Petersburg on the rival steamboat. The lions arrived in the capital in 1907, where they were assigned to the recently restored Petrovskaya Embankment, finished in granite and decorated with picturesque water slopes. For lions, engraved pedestals were made: “The Shih Tzu from the city of Jirin in Manchuria was transported to St. Petersburg in 1907. Donation of the Infantry General NI Grodekov.” The project for the installation of monuments on the embankment was developed by Russian architect Leonty Benois, founding member and honorary president of the Society of Architects-Artists.

Later, the hieroglyphs written on slabs of granite sculptures were translated: “This lion was made (placed) on I-rin on the lucky day of the tenth month of the year 32 of the reigning emperor of the Dai-ching dynasty, whose reign is called Guang-syu, then there is a continuation of a glorious reign. “According to modern chronology, this date corresponds to November 1906.

The meaning of Shih Tzu cult

Shih Tzu translated from Chinese means lion. In Eastern mythology, this animal is the protector of Dharma (a set of rules and rules established to maintain cosmic order), the guardian of sacred structures.

The first guardian lions howled in 200 BC. C., were installed in front of imperial tombs, government residences, places of worship and administrative buildings. Today, sculptures can be found in front of the entrance to the Buddhist temples of Russia, as well as countries such as China, Japan, Korea and Mongolia.

According to the ancient oriental tradition, the sculptures must be located on both sides of the entrance to the temple. The male beast is usually installed on the right and the female on the left. The lion is represented with his mouth open, and under his paw there is a ball that symbolizes Buddhist knowledge, which brings light to darkness and also has the ability to fulfill desires. The lioness, on the other hand, has its mouth shut, and a lion cub sits under its paw. It is believed that an open mouth should scare away the evil spirits of a protected building, and a closed mouth should not let the good ones out. Both animals have their mouths open at Petrovskaya Embankment.

Chinese Petersburg

Oriental motifs in the northern capital do not end with the statues of Shih Tzu on Peter’s embankment. The city has many attractions associated with the Middle Kingdom. In Liteiny Prospect is the “Garden of Friendship,” which is a small copy of Yu Yuan in Shanghai, whose name translates as “Garden of Joy.”

In the city of Pushkin there is the “Chinese Village”, the Dragon Bridge with 4 winged fairy creatures, the Great Chinese, decorated with sculptures of oriental residents, and the Bridge of the Cross with an oriental-style roof and crowned With a needle with balls.

Interesting facts

The total cost of transporting lions from China to St. Petersburg was approximately 1000 rubles. In those days, with this money you could buy 10 horses or 16 cows in cash;
According to Chinese legends, the statue of Shih Tzu holding the ball brings good luck. It is enough to touch this lion, and success will accompany you all day;
The sculptures as part of Petrovskaya Embankment are included in the Russian cultural heritage register.

The curious thing about Petrovski’s Shin-Tsa is that his face looks more like some kind of dog than a lion’s.