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Guardian Lion

A cat-astrophe? Heck no! MrSato's big cat build is brill!

Let's kick things off with a song, shall we? In the jungle, the migh-ty jungle, the lion sleeps toniiiiiight...

I hate that song. Sure, it sounds lovely, but what an irresponsible message! How many dumb tourists’ lives have been lost because they've listened to that song and thought it would be safe to explore the jungle?

“Don't worry everyone!” one tourist probably said, in what would turn out to be his last words. “That lion running towards us may look scary, hungry and full of teeth, but he's actually fast asleep. Remember, the song told us so! And songs never lie to-ARGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!"

Anyway, for more responsible lion-based art, you should stick with today's wonderful build – ShiShi Stone Lion Organic by MrSato!

“I was doing a daily oriental project for my Twitter followers,” MrSato explains to me when I ask how he decided to create this lion build. “One day I was just like 'Hey let's try a ShiShi stone lion'". Well, I'm very glad he did!

“The hardest part wasn't building it,” MrSato continues “but coming up with the initial idea. I probably sat there staring at the pictures for about two hours before I actually decided to carry through with it.”

I can completely relate. I usually stare at my fellow writer, Per Landin, for two hours before I start writing/he complains :(

The image that inspired MrSato was of an Eastern stone statue, a Chinese Guardian Lion. These stunning statues were common representations of lions in the days of imperial China and are sometimes referred to in English as shishi (Chinese for 'Stone Lion'! Unless Google Translate has lied to me).

These statues were so popular, they spread to other parts of Asia, including Japan, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. Of course they were popular – just look at them! I want fifty!

But I'll happily settle for MrSato's build, especially considering how much effort he poured into it.

“When I set out to do the stone lion,” MrSato explains “I made sure that I was developing something near perfect to something you would see in real life.”

MrSato wanted you to look at his build and immediately recognise it as a Chinese Guardian Lion – although, if immersion and details were so important, don't these lions usually come in pairs? “The stone lion is currently part of an even bigger, and more ambitious project for myself to tackle,” MrSato teases. “This stone lion's companion is still in the works.”

For now, this build depicts the male part of the pair. “The stone lion is thought to be a protector of sorts,” MrSato says. “They come in pairs to mirror the aspects of Yin and Yang. The male lion stands with his paw on an embroidered ball, which is to signify the world and its collective unity.

“The base they stand on is usually the most beautiful part of their form.”

Indeed, and the base is an intricately detailed part of MrSato's build too. It almost looks like a treasure chest that hides all manner of riches inside. Feel free to try and get past that lion to open it. See you at your funeral!

“I pride myself in historical accuracy and abilities to recreate realistic aspects from the real world,” MrSato says. “Immersion is my number one priority for players to enjoy my creations.”

That's something we all need to keep in mind when we're working on historical builds. Like my awful build of Ancient Rome that had all the Romans driving to Britain and planning the invasion schedule on iPads. That'll teach me to do no research/try and build Rome in day...

To keep your builds detailed, immersive and historically accurate - and respectful of the culture you're taking the design from - isn't a small task. But MrSato is confident all Minecraft players have the ability to pull if off.

“Anyone can do what I do, in my position,” MrSato assures me. “It just takes patience, time, determination, and the willpower to learn.”

“I also see Minecraft not just as a game. Think of it as a very in-depth 3D modelling software, but with the ability to be with your friends.” MrSato's keen to credit those friends too, both at the end of this article and on his Twitter.

I interviewed MrSato hoping to learn more about his lion build, and left motivated to try a historical build of my own! Remember, you just need “patience, time, determination, and the willpower to learn.”

Oh, and an eye for detail and fact-checking. Right, time to get started on my dream Ancient Egypt build! They had cell phones right? Yeah, course they did! Hieroglyphics are basically just dated emojis.

Renders by Omegafoxx, 0thElement, Alexander Ruyh, Lucas0e and SeanBit

Tom Stone
Written By
Tom Stone

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