September 2023 Treasure of the Month

September’s Treasure of the Month is this beautiful jade Foo Dog. Foo Dogs are not really dogs; they are actually lions. Originating in China, these imposing creatures were used to guard outside temples and homes. They are frequently seen in pairs, a male and a female. They are meant to have a fierce appearance, with sharp teeth and open mouths as if they were about to roar. It was believed that placing a pair of Foo Dogs in a strategic location would create a sense of calm and positive energy. They were also believed to ward off negative energy and hence were considered a powerful symbol of protection. The color of a Foo Dog is also significant. Our Foo Dog is green, which symbolizes growth, harmony, and balance.

Our featured treasure was found by Mike Blanchard after Hurricane Jeanne in 2004. Washed up near Amber Sands Beach, our Foo Dog was 4 inches high and 1.5 inches wide at its base. As can be seen in the images below, it was encrusted with marine deposits and shells. In addition to the marine encrustations were the original gray packing clay and organic matter thought to be straw used to pack such items for shipment.

This artifact was on loan to the McClarty Treasure Museum for several years by the owner at that time. Reportedly there was another Chinese Foo Dog statue (this one made of white porcelain) found at the Corrigan’s Wreck site by a beachcomber. The piece now resides in a private collection.

Special thanks to Mike Blanchard for providing much background information on our featured treasure as well as images. Mike has been a regular contributor to our Treasure of the Month series. Mr. Blanchard has been a professional historical shipwreck researcher, recovery diver, and artifact conservator for twenty-three years, as well as a beachcomber and metal detectorist. He has been involved in various capacities with many well-known projects, including the 1622, 1715, and 1733 Fleet shipwrecks. In addition he has undertaken special archaeological research expeditions to the sunken pirate city of Port Royal Jamaica; the pirate Henry Jennings’s estate in Bluefields, Jamaica; Henry Morgan’s multiple Jamaican estates; and the original pirate republic settlement in New Providence (Nassau), Bahamas. Mike plans to continue his work on the 1715 Fleet throughout 2023.

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