What does a Chinese dragon symbolize?Unlike the winged creatures in European mythology, Chinese dragons appear visually to more serpent-like in nature, and are often depicted as winged creatures winding through the clouds. The Chinese dragon is considered to most often represent protection, power, wisdom, and good luck or fortune. In ancient Chinese culture, dragons held a godlike position as they were believed to control both water and rain. During the monsoon season, offerings were made to these noble creatures in order to ensure a fruitful harvest.
What are the 9 Chinese Dragons?There are nine types of dragons associated with ancient Chinese mythology. These include:
- The horned dragon: often thought to be the most powerful Chinese dragon.
- The celestial dragon: the protector of the gods and heavens, also known as Shen-lung.
- The winged dragon: a dragon associated with rains and floods.
- The spiritual dragon: spiritual dragons control the wind and rain.
- The dragon of the rivers and seas: often also called Ti-lung.
- The treasure dragon: the protector of gems and other precious elements.
- The coiling dragon: a lake dragon which has yet to ascend to heaven.
- The yellow dragon: a hornless dragon who symbolizes the emperor.
- The dragon kings: there are four dragon kings, each one presiding over one of the four seas in the east, west, north, and south of China.
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What colour is a Chinese dragon?Chinese dragons can be depicted in several colours depending on their role and the symbolism behind them. The most common colours for Chinese dragons are blue, green, red, gold, purple, black, and white. Below, we will explore a few of the most popular Chinese dragon colours and what they mean.
What does a black dragon symbolize?Black dragons in Chinese myth are often depicted with a white dragon counterpart, as black and white are key colours on the Chinese spectrum symbolizing the balance of yin and yang. The black dragon symbolizes black yin, which stands for negative, passive, and female energy. While the white dragon represents the white yang of positive, active, and masculine energy. Black dragons are also associated with winter and the north. The black dragon is known for its power and vengeance.
What does a golden dragon mean?Golden or yellow dragons are often thought to be the most revered of all their kin because they represent the imperial family and the emperor. Thecolour yellow represents warmth, reliability, and solidity. Golden dragons are often used to reign in the New Year in Chinese New Years’ celebrations and are recognized symbols of compassion, wisdom, and wealth.
What does a purple dragon symbolize?Since purple is a combination of red and blue, purple dragons symbolize a balance between the characteristics of these two colours. The red symbolizes passion while the blue symbolizes reason. In Feng Shui, purple symbolizes spiritual healing and awareness. Purple has also been a colour closely associated with royalty amongst many cultures. This likely stems from the fact that purple dye was once quite difficult to produce, therefore it was expensive and often reserved for the wealthier classes.
Can Chinese dragons breathe fire?Unlike the dragons in European folklore, Chinese dragons are not often seen depicted breathing fire. The Chinese dragons are more often associated with water than the fire of their European counterparts, and while there have been instances in mythology of Chinese dragons breathing fire, it is often the result of a punishment sent from the heavens and is quite rare. You will, however, see depictions of Chinese dragons breathing clouds or wind.
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