China and DragonsChina and dragons are synonymous in modern lore. Even today, you will find dragons throughout China, although mostly in statutes and paintings.
When one thinks of mythical creatures, dragons are some of the first images that come to mind. Whether you're reading a tale of King Arthur's medieval exploits, or stories from the East and Asia, dragons play a significant role in the fables and fairy tales of many cultures. Chinese dragons are some of the most well known of the dragon creatures, and with good reason: the myth of the dragon originated here.
Chinese dragons are the type of dragon depicted on many different Asian tapestries, paintings and ink drawings. These dragons are long and almost snake like, with many claws extending off of small arms. The modern version of a Chinese dragon was developed as a mythical creature in the Han Dynasty. Here, the dragon has turned into a creature with a snake's body, scales and a tail from a fish, the face of a camel, ears from a bull and horns from a stag, eagle's talons and the feet of a tiger. Along with these various parts, it is also said that the dragon has the eyes of a demon, and carries a flaming pearl under its chin.
The development of Chinese dragons is believed to have started with an actual animal, the crocodile. As crocodiles are known to be able to sense changes in weather, such as impending rain, this may be the reason for the dragon's believed ability to control the weather. Chinese dragons have always been associated with water and weather control, and in ancient times, villages would dedicate sacrifices and other religious rites to the "dragon king" in order to hopefully appease him. The dragon took on imperial proportions when the emperor Huang Di was said to have turned into a dragon upon his death. For dynasties after this, the dragon became a symbol of the emperor and of imperial authority.
Today, Chinese dragons are no longer a symbol of power or a real creature to be believed in. Dragons do still, however, play a large role in some celebrations and ceremonies, such as the Chinese New Year. Dragon puppets controlled by a team of people are often seen as the major attraction of Chinese New Year celebrations. Dragons have intrigued, and even ruled, cultures for thousands of years. Today, the dragon may not be seen as a literal force to be reckoned with, but they are still seen as a symbol of power and all things Chinese.
article written by Richard MonkAbout the author:
Richard Monk is with FactsMonk.com - a site with facts about everything.