Lions are a symbol of bravery, courage, and strength and as such are often displayed as guardians against evil spirits.
A lion resting on his paws is a symbol of patience and endurance.
In Chinese culture, they are believed to have mythical power and are often erected in pairs with the female on the left and the male on the right. The male lion rests his right paw on a ball representing the flower of life, and has his mouth open representing the sacred word OM which is said during meditation. The female lion representing nurture restrains a cub.
In the Buddhist faith, lion-like creatures called Shinto are considered divine animals of nobleness and dignity, which can protect the Truth and deter evil. Also erected in pairs, one has the mouth open, the other closed.