Does anyone recognise these lions? | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Does anyone recognise these lions?

I saw them today at the university quarters along Pok Fu Lam Road. They look familiar, but I can't remember where I've seen them before.

Stone lion (left)
Stone lion (right)

Any ideas?

Regards, David


It is similar to the lions at former Bank of China HQ at Des Voeux Rd Central.

Yes, I agree with Lolau. These look like the BOC lions. Are they stone or concrete?


EDIT: here are the BOC ones

I remember reading a book on the history of HKU but don't recall the detailed story.  My impression is that these lions were originally at the main entrance of Bank of China.  They were moved to HKU because someone at the bank wanted a pair of lions with an appearance more in line with the traditional Chinese style.  Similar lions at the side of the building, however, were part of the building and could not be moved.

The Old Bank of China lions by the side of the building.

1990s Old Bank of China Lions



Thanks everyone, that was cleared up quickly. I had in mind they were from the 1930s HSBC building, so I was a few feet out!

If anyone can add to C's comments about how they ended up at HKU, I'd be interested to hear the story.

regards, David

PS Phil, I didn't pay attention at the time, but zooming in to the photo it looks like stone, not concrete.

Are these the famed cursed sculptures (四不像) which I heard about from HKU alumni?


From a Chicago Tribune article and photo in 1956

"These 'reactionary lions' were removed in front of a communist bank in Hong Kong in 1951 and now live in retirement on the University of Hong Kong campus. A pair of 'progressive lions' have taken their place while the 'reactionaries' brood with tongues hanging out."

Bank of China Lions
This photo of the lions either side of the door to the Bank of China was taken in 1956. The Bank of China and the Hong Kong Shanghi Bank were side by side and were the tallest buildings on the island

That is at the external stair of University Hall, Pofulam

Hi David,

My friend Billy and I came across this post while doing research on the art-deco lions outside the old Bank of China Building. When we learned about the other pair through your post, we decided to write an article about all four of the lions.

C's memory of the lions as they're described in the book is accurate. The archivist Garfield Lam (HKU Archives) gave us the name of the book: The University of Hong Kong: An Informal History (Vol. 2) by Bernard Mellor -- a copy of which can be found at the Hong Kong Central Library. The lions were indeed banished from the bank and donated to HKU because they were too "reactionary" with their tongues hanging out and all.

The lions at Pok Fu Lam are called Clementi and Lugard, it turns out!

You can read more about the lions and their exile (and see our photos) on our blog:

Or find an abridged version (with fewer pictures) in Zolima Citymag: