A pair of half-dog, half-lion creatures guard the gateway to the garden. Scholars have long studied the origins of these animals, which are found at the entrances of shrines, grand temples or important residences. In Buddhist mythology, the lion figure is a guardian for important heavenly beings. The lion dog with the ball under its paw is male. The ball symbolizes power and doctrine. The other lion dog is female. She guards the cub under her paw and feeds it spiritual goodness or knowledge from the "pearl of the spirit" on her chest. The pearl symbolizes holiness. It is thought to be good luck to rub one's hand in the lion dog's mouth before entering the garden, which is why their tongues have been rubbed smooth.