Dragon – the National Symbol

Dragon is a fictitious animal but has the most influence and impact on the Chinese.

clip image002 thumb11 Dragon – the National SymbolFrom the beginning, the dragon was attributed with various divinities, and was aid to be the god of rain, thunder, cloud and wind. The carriage of the Sun God was drawn by six dragons. The candle Dragon in the north was the God of Light. The Ying Dragon in the south was the God of Water and War who helped Yu, the legendary founder of the Xia Dynasty (21st-16th BC), tame floods and battle wars during the prehistoric period. The Kui Dragon of the East Sea was the Muse of the east; and the Black Dragon was the God of Celestial Positions. The Great Dragon was said to have nine sons, who had interests in different fields such as music, sports, law, architecture and religion, so this dragon governed almost everything except marriage and love.

When praying for favorable crop weather, the Chinese people used to create dragon images to contact the dragon god. Today’s dragon dances were rituals designed to beseech the dragon for abundant rain and harvest. The ancient people in the lower and middle reaches of the Yangtze River cut their hair and tattooed their bodies to convince the dragon god that they were similar to him sot that he would not harm them. Today’s dragon-boat race was originally intended to entertain the dragon god.

image thumb Dragon – the National SymbolAccording to ancient Chinese mythology, the dragon stalked across the sky, carrying wind, cloud thunder and  lightning, and dived into seas, causing terrifying waves. It had infinite power and was predictable. Hence the ancient saying, “You never see the dragon’s whole body.” In paintings, dragons can always be seen half hidden behind clouds, imparting a mystique. In 501 BC, Confucius, the most famous philosopher in Chinese history, asked Lao Zi, another great philosopher, for the third time about rites of civility. Lao Zi’ philosophical theory and his criticism on the slave owning system so shocked and inspired Confucius that he was entranced for three days. He signed to his pupils that Lao Zi was as mysterious and unpredictable as the dragon, that his theories were integral when joined, and like scattering clouds when apart. Lao Zi’s surname was “Li”, so later on all the people with the surname “Li” were called “the dragon family”.

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