Dragons in Chinese culture


Dragons

There are no other continent where you will find as much dragon-related trinkets and decorations as in China. For over 7000 years’ dragons have been a part of the culture and life in China, especially at New Year. You might have seen pictures from the celebrations in China and can recall people dressing out with big, red dragon’s heads and all dancing in the streets. Since the dragons in China is seen more as a snake shaped animal it takes a few people to dress out like a dragon. However, if you would happen to meet a Chinese dragon you don’t have to run. To meet a Chinese dragon is a blessing and the dragon itself stands for good fortune. It’s not like the dragons from Europe or Scandinavia where the dragon symbolizes evil and darkness. No, the Chinese dragon is colorful and even if the body has a shape like a snake it is not creepy at all. It can fly although they don’t really have any wings. The dragon has four short legs and the rumors say it has several elements from different animals. For example, the dragons head have similarities with the head of a camel. The skin of a dragon has similarities to a fish called carp which you can find in both Europe and Asia. On the dragons, upper head, you will see horns and these horns is said to be the same as a giant stag also called deer. Sometimes the eyes of the dragon can seem a bit scary and some say they have the eyes of a demon. But the eyes of a Chinese dragon are also similar and compared to the eyes of a rabbit or hare. The ears can you find right beside the horns and they are the same as a bull. Because of the short legs the dragons neck is like a snake and therefore can wriggle its way through. Often the dragon walks and wriggle at the same time but since the legs are so short there is a possibility the stomach can get injured. To protect the stomach while wriggle its way through the stomach is in the same material as clams. The legs and paws who the dragon use to carry itself with is like a tiger but with claws from an eagle. You can also see the dragon have mane like a horse which starts from the head and goes all the way to the end of the tale. Very Interesting elements from different animals and it is probably the best of all worlds.

If you would ever try to find one of these famous dragons, you should start to look close to water. The dragons are said to be found near the ocean, lakes, rivers and very deep ponds. They enjoy to be in and under the water and it is best to be friends with a Chinese dragon. If you ever would do a Chinese dragon mad you can expect flooding, storms, tsunamis and so on. This is since the dragons are the ruler of the water and therefore have power over the ocean. However, there are four dragon kings who all have each sea to take care about. East China Sea, South China Sea, West Sea also called Indian Ocean and the North Sea are the four seas which all have a ruler in form of a dragon king. For many centuries, the farmers and fishermen who lived nearby the ocean or any large lakes build temples in honor for their dragon king. Whenever it was bad flooding or storms sacrifices were made to the dragon king of the village. But mostly the dragons in China are known as kindhearted and a symbol of power. They may control the sea and the rain but they are good to people since they help driving out evil spirits from people’s house. If you are innocent and helpless they are also known to help a person in need.

In paintings, you may have notice a flaming pearl beside the dragon. According to the legend, the pearl is a key to enter heaven. The pearl possesses all the characterizes a dragon have: spiritual energy, wisdom, power, prosperity and immortality. Often you can witness the Chinese dragon holding this flaming pearl in its claws or close to its head. There are also common with paintings showing two dragons fighting with each other over the flaming pearl. It might seem like all dragons belong to the same race but there are nine different types of dragons in China. Qiulong, also called the horned dragons are the mightiest dragons of all. Yinglong, the winged dragons are the only ones with wings and the oldest dragon of all. Panlong, the coiling dragons which spend most of the time in the lake of the Orient. Huanglong, are known as the yellow dragons but also for their scholarly knowledge and writing. Dilong, are the underground dragons but they are spending their time on the earth controlling the streams and rivers. Fucanglong, these dragons are called the dragons of the hidden treasures. Just as it sounds you will find them underground guarding the buried treasures. Shenlong also known as the spiritual dragon is controlling the wind both also the rain. The celestial dragons, known as Tianlong are the dragons you will find pulling chariots of the gods. Their task is as well to guard the palaces of the gods. Last but not least the dragon kings called Lóng Wáng who can take the shape of a human if they want to. They live in palaces with lifeguards such as shrimp soldiers and crab generals patrolling around. Even if they can take the shape of a human they prefer to be in normal dragon form.


Dragons in movies

Welcome to Little Dragon, a blog about dragons! The subject for today is dragons in movies, and who knows, perhaps you’ll find inspiration for a Christmas Gift for someone special?

You have heard of them and maybe seen images of them in your childhood. From the childhood, you might remember the cute little dragon named Mushu from the movie Mulan. A friendly dragon with the size as a full-grown cat and not able to fly. But you also might remember the terrifying large black and purple colored dragon in the end of Maleficent. Probably the first sign of dragons for most of the population. Both dragons were made as cartoons but for the audience they brought up two completely different moods. Mushi taught us that dragons can be friendly and helpful when humans are in need. The dragon in Maleficent is the opposite of Mushu since the dragon is large and would probably be over 65 feet. Compare to Mushu the dragon in Maleficent can also fly if she wants to. Her flame is almost killing the prince while he tries to rescue the sleeping beauty. Already in the childhood we got to learn to know two different types of dragons. It might be a bit confusing how two creatures of the same element could be so different. There is no coincidence that Disney introduced the world to two different types of dragons. The history of dragons go back over 300 years and bones from a T-rex discovered by the Chinese historian Chang Qu started it all. Since the discovery of the bones, the dragons can be spotted in almost all religions. From China and Japan to America and Scandinavia. Wherever you go, you will find a difference between the dragons in both temperament and appearance. For some it means luck and fortune while other see the dragon as a fire breathing beast representing Satan. It is described in fairytales and stories as protective and valuable but also a dangerous and unpredictable animal. It might be one of the most popular mythologic creature but the legendary animal has brought some mixed feelings to the population of the world.

Therefore, in movies you can and will come across both good and aggressive dragons. The size and the imagination of dragons have always been different all over the world. If you ask a person to imagine a dragon, some may see a reptile look alike creature with wings. Others may refer the dragon like a relative to the snake with no wings. However, the dragons seem to never go out of style or be boring. One excellent example of showing this is the series: Game of Thrones. You can spot three baby dragons in the beginning and you get to follow them while they grow up. In the series, you will have difficulties to decide whether the dragons are good hearted or bad. But you will see one thing and that’s loyalty. They are very protective of the people they know but can easily get angry if they are threatened by an enemy or anyone else. Another interesting detail is that the smaller dragons get locked in under one mountain to protect the population. The Queens hand later release the dragon since they shouldn’t be locked up because it can hurt them. One dragon who doesn’t mind living under a mountain is the 65 feet long Smaug who you will find in the movie: The Hobbit. He is guarding a large amount of gold and specially the stone called The Arkenstone. Smaug would probably be the modern dragon of Disneys old Maleficent. Just as terrifying and careless who takes what he wants. His hobbies is to kill everything attempting to take his gold and to burn down cities.

Another movie that got great ratings and where the main character is a dragon is in the movie “How to train your dragon”. A modern cartoons movie where the storyline takes place during the time of Vikings. The movie became very popular, so popular the first movie got two sequels. The dragon in the movie can fly but is friendly and gentle to its rider. But if you look at the storyline of the movie you will find out that the dragons in the beginning is believed to be evil and dislike people. The movie demonstrates the imagination and the different images of the dragons. You will see dragons of all sizes, color and characteristics. Some are as small as a human paw while other are large as a mountain.

When it comes to dragons in movies it isn’t the easiest to make them look real. However, there are no look which is consider to be right or wrong when it comes dragons. This gives the movie directors and writers a lot to work with and you can make them how terrifying you want or how charming you want. It’s all up to your own imagination and fantasy. That is a luxury to not be able to get judged since every single person have their own opinions and thoughts of how a dragon look like.