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The Chinese dragon is the ultimate and the most abiding symbol of good fortune and lies at the heart of Chinese mythology and is ubiquitous in Oriental art. Chinese dragons are regarded as divine mythical creatures that bring abundance, prosperity and good luck and its benevolence is known to augur goodness, greatness and plentiful blessings. They stand in contrast to the Western dragons which are usually associated with evil. 

The Chinese dragon is the epitome of power, courage, nobility and divinity with an all-enduring trait that it would overcome all obstacles till it achieves success. They are known to have terrestrial and celestial powers, which is why they are loved, worshipped and appeased. Their manifestations are used for the deeply profound to the simple things like children using dragon-shaped boats and kites. In sum, the dragon’s significance is its control over the destiny of mankind. 

It is considered to be made of nine entities – head of the camel, eyes of a demon, ears of a cow, horns of a stag, neck of a snake, belly of a clam, claws of an eagle, soles of a tiger and the 117 scales that cover its body being that of a carp. It is also considered highly versatile with the ability to change size and color and also take to the skies or the waters with equal dexterity. 

The Chinese dragon was the symbol of the Emperor and his Imperial Command and dragon shrines are still around in several parts of the Far East. Dragons are known to have mated with man and woman in ancient times. Japanese Emperor Hirohito traces his roots back 125 generations to Princess Faithful, daughter of the Sea Dragon.  

Many other rulers in the Far East have claimed dragon ancestry. And for them the highest compliment is to be dubbed “Dragon Face”. The rulers were so proud of their dragon ancestry that almost all of them had the word ‘dragon’ prefixed to their thrones, beds, boats, robes and rooms, among other things. Most royal families of the Orient believe that the dragon is wise. A popular legend has it that a 13th Century Cambodian king spent his nights in a golden tower where he conferred with a nine-headed dragon which was the real ruler of the land. 

The dragons are immensely popular among the Chinese, Japanese and the Koreans. Interestingly, the only way to differentiate one from the rest is to count the toes. The Chinese dragon has five toes, the Korean has four and the Japanese has three. Chinese legend describes them as wanderers – the farther they went from their land, the more number of toes they lost. The Japanese say exactly the opposite – the dragons grow more toes the farther they go from them. 

There are nine types of Chinese dragons. The Horned Dragon is considered the most powerful. It produces rain but is stone deaf. The Winged Dragon is the only one that flies. The Celestial Dragon is believed to protect the palaces of Gods. The Spiritual Dragon generates wind and rain. The Dragon of Hidden Treasures guards hidden treasures. The Coiling Dragon is also known as Water Dragon and lives in the lakes. The Yellow Dragon is the one that emerged from the waters to bestow the knowledge of writing. The Dragon King is a group of four dragons that rules the four seas in the North, East, South and West. There is also the Homeless Dragon that lives in the oceans or in the marshes and mountains. 

Though the Chinese Dragon is attributed to anything that is good, it is also termed “vain”. This is because when they are insulted or not duly honored by the rulers, they thrash around and exhale heavy air, causing droughts, floods or storms. The dragons also demonstrate disaffection of smaller magnitude that trigger minor problems like causing roofs to leak or rice to remain uncooked.

The most awesome rendition of the Chinese Dragon is on the Nine Dragon Wall in Beijing, built in 1756. The 21-metre long and 15-metre high wall is packed with 424 ceramic tiles made of seven colors. At its center is a giant dragon with four more positioned around. Nine huge dragons with others of various sizes fill the rest of the space. There are 635 dragons in all and this is among Beijing’s most famous tourist attractions. 

In Chinese astrology, the Year of the Dragon is considered the luckiest and those born in that year are destined to have a long, healthy and wealthy life. 2000-01 was the last Year of the Dragon and will return in 2012-13, in keeping with its 12-year cycle.


Chinese Dynasties Panda Bears
Chinese Calligraphy The Symbols in the Art
Bronze Dragon ~ 7.25 Inches
Bronze Dragon ~ 7.25 Inches
Jade ~ Boy & Two Dragons
Jade ~ Boy & Two Dragons
Brass Dragon ~ 4.75 Inches
Brass Dragon ~ 4.75 Inches
Dragons ~ Bead Embroidered Silk
Dragons ~ Bead Embroidered Silk
Dragon & Phoenix ~ 8 Inch Bowl
Dragon & Phoenix ~ 8 Inch Bowl

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