Japanese Komainu Shishi Guardian Lions
Lions have been a symbol of strength and protection for centuries. The Sphinx protected the Egyptian throne. Such statues were placed at the entrance to palaces, on either side of the King, and on each side of the gateway inside a temple.
When Buddhism was introduced in Japan, Shishi were placed at either side of the entrance to the temple.
Historically they are two different beasts, though over centuries the differences have become less distinct. One has an open mouth, Komainu, and one's mouth is closed, Shishi.
This pair is in the kakiemon style with overglaze decoration in vivid green and blue hues. And at 21” tall they are an impressive pair.