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The lion was undoubtedly the most common and widely-used animal in heraldry. It was generally associated with kingship, but was also seen as a sign of nobility. It symbolized justice, sympathy, strength, power and vigilance.
Widely known as the "king of the beasts," the lion has been used as a symbol of power by kings and royalty across the globe perhaps most notably in France and England. In Christianity, the lion symbolizes Christ.
The lion symbolizes courage and fearlessness. In ancient Egypt, the lion is associated with Sekhmet, a warrior goddess, and Maahes, a solar war god who was called "The Lord of the Massacre" or "Lord of Slaughter," titles that reflect his fierceness.
In China since the Han Dynasty, pairs of stone lions called Shishi have been found guarding and protecting the entrances to Imperial palaces, temples, homes, offices, and businesses. Throughout Europe as well, carved lions often adorn gates and lion sculptures stand guard.