Understanding Chinese Dragons

Chinese dragons are among the most important International mythology and it went back thousands of years. While dragons in European mythology have negative connotations, the same creatures in China are considered benevolent beings that possess wisdom and power. Chinese also believe that dragons could give them good luck. The Lung, or the Imperial Dragon is one of the common depictions. Dragons are represented in imperial fashions and they are believed to have divine powers. Instead of fire, Chinese dragons are closely associated with water.

Dragons in Chinese culture are depicted beautifully in vivid colors and we have seen jade sculptures with impressive artistic values. Some of these sculptures could date back five thousand years and worth millions of dollars. Dragons are still considered as a symbol of abundance and prosperity. Chinese believe that dragons are not mythology and they are actually extinct creatures. However, some experts believe that ancient Chinese people may form the dragon from large crocodiles they saw in flooded rivers. This is a likely theory, considering that dragons are often associated with water.

Other than the imperial dragon, there are other animals that are considered to have spiritual powers, tortoise, unicorn and phoenix. Dragons are thought as the foremost and most important beings among the four with its power and wisdom. Another theory is that dragons are actually the Chinese variant of Naga in India, with its dragon-like. However, there’s also actually a possibility that it is actually Indians who are inspired by Chinese dragons. Dragons in China is often represented in chiao style with red belly, yellow sides and striped back.

On the other hand, Lung dragons are represented with specific chrematistics such as eagle like claws, tiger like paws, carp like scales, frog like belly, iguana like neck, bull like ears, hare like eyes, deer like horns and camel like head. In general, Chinese dragons have slim physical posture with long whiskers. The upper jaw may also have canine-like teeth. The modern People’s Republic of China doesn’t use the ancient dragon as a symbol, because it is often associated with the imperial influences. However, Chinese people still respect dragons as an essential part of their culture. Jade sculptures are the common way to represent dragon artworks. The translucent greenish and pale white material is also called nephrite and it has been mined in China since 4000 BC.

Jade is grainy and very hard, so sculptures need to use abrasive materials to slowly create shapes. This is an effortful and time consuming task, but the final result is nothing short but impressive. Because no jade sculpturing tools from ancient China are ever found, it is believed that people at the time also different abrasive and sanding techniques. For holes and grooves, sculptures also use various drilling methods. While modern sculptures use metal-based tools, ancient people could use bamboo stick with wooden head. The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Liaoning Province are common places where jade sculpturing industry thrives.