Chinese guardian lions, also called Lions of Fo (Buddha) are believed to have powerful mythic protective powers and are common outside Chinese Imperial palaces and temples. Lions of Fo are always created in pairs, with the male playing with a globe and the female with a cub. What you see here is a male!
While these guardian lions are very much a Chinese icon, it is interesting that Chinese sculptors created these without ever seeing a real lion. China never had any lions and they found out about these majestic animals from Buddhist monks visiting from India where the Asiatic lion was common.