Facts About Chinese Dragons
There are different types of dragons in each different culture. Chinese dragons that are mostly shown are snake-like, big and wingless but still able to fly. The Western dragons that we mostly see have wings. To many countries of the West, the dragon is considered evil whereas in the East dragon symbolizes strength, power and good luck.
Nine Types of Chinese Dragons
According to the Chinese literature and myths, there are mainly nine types of Chinese dragons.
- The horned dragon, which is said to be the most powerful generalized type of Chinese dragon.
- The winged dragon, associated with rains and floods, this dragon is believed to be used by the Yellow Emperor Huangdi to kill Chi You.
- The celestial dragon (also called T’ien lung) is the guardian of gods and a protector of heaven.
- The spiritual dragon (the Shen-lung) brings rain and controls the weather.
- The dragon of the rivers and the seas was called “Ti-lung”.
- “Fucanglong” or the treasure dragon, underworld guardian of precious jewels and metals, associated with volcanoes.
- The coiling dragon, a lake dragon that has not ascended to heaven.
- The yellow dragon, a hornless dragon symbolizing the emperor.
- The last of the nine is the dragon kings, it consists of 4 separate dragons, each of the four dragon kings rules over one of the four seas, tthose of the east, west, north and south.
Many Chinese villages in premodern times had temples dedicated to their local “dragon king” (especially those close to rivers and seas). In times of drought or flooding, it was customary for the government officials and local gentry to lead the community in offering sacrifices as well as conducting other religious rites in order to appease the dregon, either to ask for rain or a cessation thereof.
Five Clawed Dragon
In the Zhou Dynasty, Five-clawed dragon was assigned to the Emperor of China, four-clawed dragon to the seigneur (Zhuhou) and three-clawed dragon to the Daifu. Three-clawed and four-clawed dragons were assigned to the commoners in the Qin Dynasty. At those days, no one (except the Emperor) was allowed to possess a five-clawed dragon image on pain of death.
In some circles, depicting a dragon facing downwards is considered bad luck as if the dragon cannot ascend to the sky. When placing your feng shui dragon, you should not place it in lower-energy areas such as the garage, closets, or the bathroom, and do not have too many dragons in the home. The maximum recommended number of dragons in your home is 5. Some also believe that you have to be strong and fierce enough in order to have a dragon tattoo on the skin otherwise your luck may be consumed by the dragon.
When looking at the dragon picture or statue, people often see a pearl under the dragon’s chin, the pearl is also known as the flaming pearl, and this is quite a popular design. It is said that the pearl stand for truth, wisdom or life, and if the dragon loses this pearl, he is left helpless and incapable of action.
Nine Sons of the Dragon
There are also nine diferent young of the dragon whose shapes are used as ornaments acording to their nature. The information about the nine sons of the dragon differ according to different records, each record gives each of them a different habit and different character.
- Pulao, the dragon who have the habit to call loudly when attacked, he is usually carved on tops of the gongs and bells. He lives near the sea and he fears to meet the big whale.
- Qiuniu, the dragon who likes music, he is carved on the screws of fiddles. He likes to crouch and listen to music on the head of stringed instruments.
- The chiwen, the dragons who like swallowing, they are placed on both ends of the ridgepoles of roofs (tto swallow all evil influences). Since he is also in charge of the rainfall, therefore the design must has the purpose of safeguarding palaces from fire.
- Yazi, a bad-tempered type, fractious and inclined to fight, this dragon often appears on ancient weapon. You can usually see it carved on sword or knife hilts and battle axe. It is believed that his figure can add power to the weapons.
- Fuxi loves literature and his figures can be seen carved on sides of stone tablets with inscriptions.
- Chaofeng is fearless and loves to take risks. This lion-like beast likes to watch from high places and therefore are placed on the every corner of roofs.
- Suanmi likes fire and smoke, his figure is like lion. His likeness can be seen on tthe legs of incense-burners. You can also see him guarding beside the main door.
- Baxia, his figure is like tortoise. He likes to carry heavy things because he has great strength and also loves words. He is used to carry stone tablets with inscriptions. Many famous steles in China are carried by Baxia.
- Bian, his figure is like tiger. This wise dragon is used to tell who is bad or good, so his figure became decorations of court or prison.