Evil spirits, beware! I am shishi!
"The structures of Hōryū-ji temple are based on the Chinese bay system, a modified version of post-and-lintel construction with intricate bracketing designed to transfer the weight of the heavy tiled roof down to the massive wooden supporting columns.
They are especially noteworthy for the skilful use of entasis on the columns and their cloud-shaped brackets. Cloud-pattern bracket arms with cloud-shaped holes supporting roof are uniquely Japanese features characteristic for Asuka era structures.
Wooden shishi carvings are commonly used as architectural elements, placed under the eaves of both Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples to ward off evil spirits. Shishi (or Jishi) is translated as "lion” but it can also refer to a deer or dog with magical properties and the power to repel evil spirits."
Hōryū-ji temple, Nara, Japan, 2012