The dragon enjoys a very high reputation in Chinese culture. It is the token of authority, dignity, honour, success, luck, and capacity. In ancient China, a dragon was thought to speed across the sky with divine power. Emperors entitled themselves exclusively as ‘dragon’; their thrones were called ‘dragon thrones’, their clothes ‘dragon gowns’.
The origin of the Chinese dragon is not certain. The presence of dragons within Chinese culture dates back several thousands of years with the discovery of a dragon statue dating back to the fifth millennium BC from the Yangshao culture in Henan in 1987, and jade badges of rank in coiled form have been excavated from the Hongshan culture circa 4700-2900 BC.
The coiled snake or dragon form played an important role in early Chinese culture. The character for “dragon” in the earliest Chinese writing has a similar coiled form, as do later jade dragon amulets from the Shang period.
Ancient Chinese referred to unearthed dinosaur bones as dragon bones and documented them as such. For example, Chang Qu in 300 BC documents the discovery of “dragon bones” in Sichuan. The modern Chinese word for dinosaur is konglong (恐龍, meaning “terrible dragon”), and villagers in central China have long unearthed fossilized “dragon bones” for use in traditional medicines, a practice that continues today.
The binomial name for a variety of dinosaur discovered in China, Mei long, in Chinese (寐 mèi and 龙 lóng) means “sleeping dragon.” Fossilized remains of Mei long have been found in China in a sleeping and coiled form, with the dinosaur nestling its snout beneath one of its forelimbs while encircling its tail around its entire body.
The Han Dynasty scholar Wang Fu recorded Chinese myths that long dragons had nine anatomical resemblances.
“The people paint the dragon’s shape with a horse’s head and a snake’s tail. Further, there are expressions as ‘three joints’ and ‘nine resemblances’ (of the dragon), to wit: from head to shoulder, from shoulder to breast, from breast to tail. These are the joints; as to the nine resemblances, they are the following: his horns resemble those of a stag, his head that of a camel, his eyes those of a demon, his neck that of a snake, his belly that of a clam (shen, 蜃), his scales those of a carp, his claws those of an eagle, his soles those of a tiger, his ears those of a cow. Upon his head he has a thing like a broad eminence (a big lump), called [chimu] (尺木). If a dragon has no [chimu], he cannot ascend to the sky.”
Chinese dragons are strongly associated with water in popular belief. They are believed to be the rulers of moving bodies of water, such as waterfalls, rivers, or seas. They can show themselves as water spouts (tornado or twister over water). In this capacity as the rulers of water and weather, the dragon is more anthropomorphic in form, often depicted as a humanoid, dressed in a king’s costume, but with a dragon head wearing a king’s headdress.
There are four major Dragon Kings, representing each of the four seas: the East Sea (corresponding to the East China Sea), the South Sea (corresponding to the South China Sea), the West Sea (sometimes seen as the Indian Ocean and beyond), and the North Sea (sometimes seen as Lake Baikal).
The dragon, especially yellow or golden dragons with five claws on each foot, was a symbol for the emperor in many Chinese dynasties. The imperial throne was called the Dragon Throne. During the late Qing Dynasty, the dragon was even adopted as the national flag. The dragon is featured in the carvings on the steps of imperial palaces and tombs, such as the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Dragons symbolize such character traits as dominance and ambition. Dragons prefer to live by their own rules and if left on their own, are usually successful. They’re driven, unafraid of challenges, and willing to take risks. They’re passionate in all they do and they do things in grand fashion. Unfortunately, this passion and enthusiasm can leave Dragons feeling exhausted and interestingly, unfulfilled.
While Dragons frequently help others, rarely will they ask for help. Others are attracted to Dragons, especially their colorful personalities, but deep down, Dragons prefer to be alone. Perhaps that is because they’re most successful when working alone. Their preference to be alone can come across as arrogance or conceitedness, but these qualities aren’t applicable. Dragons have tempers that can flare fast!
Considering their hard-working nature, Dragons are healthy overall. They do get stressed and suffer from periodic tension/headaches, likely because they take so many risks. Dragons could benefit from incorporating mild activity into their lives. Yoga or walking would be good as these activities can work both their minds and their bodies.
Dragons prefer leading to being led. Jobs that allow them to express their creativity are good choices. Some good careers include: inventor, manager, computer analyst, lawyer, engineer, architect, broker, and sales person.
Dragons will give into love, but won’t give up their independence. Because they have quick, sometimes vengeful tempers, their partners need to be tough-skinned. Dragons enjoy others who are intriguing, and when they find the right partners, they’ll usually commit to that person for life.
DRAGONS AND THE ELEMENTS
Water Dragons – Years 1952 and 2012
Water calms the Dragon’s fire. Water Dragons are able to see things from other points of view. They don’t have the need to always be right. Their decisions, if well-researched, are usually better since they allow others to become involved.
Dragons are compatible with the Monkey or Rat and incompatible with the Ox and Goat.
Ideal Job for the Dragon Include
Managing director, Salesperson, Advertising executive, Barrister, Film producer, Prime minister or President, Photojournalist, Architect, Astronaut, Artist, Film star, War correspondent.
Lucky Numbers: 3, 4, 5, 6, 15, 21, 34, 35, 36, 45
Equivalent Western Sign: Aries
Lucky Flowers: bleeding heart vine, larkspur
Some Famous Dragons: Jeffrey Archer, Count Basie, Julie Christie, James Coburn, Bing Crosby, Neil Diamond, Matt Dillon, Placido Domingo, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Marlene Dietrich, Tom Jones, John Lennon, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Elaine Paige, Gregory Peck, Cliff Richard, Martin Sheen, Ringo Starr, Shirley Temple.
Compatible with: Rat, Monkey, Snake, Rooster, Tiger
Less Compatible with: Dragon, Ox, Rabbit, Pig, Ram, Horse
Least Compatible with: Dog
Positive and Negative Capability
Positive: The Dragon can be vibrant, magnanimous, charismatic, principled, self-sufficient, discriminating, compelling, sentimental, accomplished, noble-hearted, healthy and prodigiously shrewd.
Negative: The Dragon can also be bombastic, dissatisfied, ruthless, demanding, opinionated, mawkish, egocentric, defensive, power-mad, foolhardy, willful and pompous.
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