The Significance of The Chinese Dragons

By: Henry KH Fong

Chinese dragons are thought to come from an ancient crocodile that could predict rain. As Chinese dragons control moving water, including rain, this link is highly possible. In many cultures dragons are evil beings but to the Chinese the dragon is very powerful and for the most part is desired. The Chinese dragon is present in many aspects of Chinese life including folklore and art. The male or yang, is Chinese is depicted by the dragon.

The Chinese dragon is historically a symbol of the Chinese's Emperor and 'commoners' could not use it. Over the years the presence of the dragon has faded and re-emerged due to different connotations with war and aggressions. Chinese dragons are also closely linked to rain and water and some of the most horrific floods that occurred in China are blamed on a mortal angering a dragon.

Chinese dragons are associated with the lucky number nine as dragons are described using nine attributes. They have 117 scales with 81 Yin scales (9 x 9), positive essence, and 36 Yang scales (4 x 9), negative essence. As with dragons the number nine also belongs to emperor and the highest government officials would wear robes decorated with nine dragons.

The Chinese dragon is part of the Chinese zodiac and dragon years are the most popular to have babies as dragons are linked with certain personality traits. A dragon is one of the four celestial guardians. Dragon boat racing and dancing with dragon puppets are popular celebration of the Chinese New Year.

In modern times the belief of the dragon is not as prevalent but the worship of dragon kings for weather and water still an important part of Chinese tradition. Dragons are thought to control moving bodies of water form seas to rivers and rule the water and weather. The four main dragon kings rule the east sea, the south sea, the west sea and the North Sea.

Besides controlling water dragons also have many other powers such as changing its size or being able to be invisible or glow. Dragons can manipulate water so it turns into fire. Dragons most likely were derived from a type of ancient crocodile that was able to predict rain. It is thought that the legend of dragons emerged from this crocodile.

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