Shells remind me of a Japanese film - "Coquille"/Kaigara, 1999. The title was inspired by a poem written by Jean Cocteau. "Mon oreille est un coquillage/Qui aime le bruit de la mer." - My ear is a sea shell that loves the sound of the sea. It has a good translation into Japanese:
As you may know, these are shisa dogs. Half dog, half lion, it is a traditional decoration in the Ryukyu culture. They appear on the rooftops or at the gates. The left one has the mouth closed, and the right one has the mouth open. The open mouth wards off the evil spirits, and the closed mouth keeps in the good spirits. The same meaning goes for the komainu placed at the entrance of the Shinto shrines throughout Japan.