Dragons- A Symbol For China

Dragons occupy a very important position in Chinese mythology. The Chinese dragon shows up in literature, poetry, songs, but also in architecture and in many other aspects of the Chinese conscience.

Related to architecture, dragons were an important emblem for Imperial China and were used on Imperial architecture, mainly on the Imperial Palaces. The Chinese dragon could be found almost anywhere: on the beams and pillars, but also on the roofs.


 Dragons were totems of Chinese people and they represented emperors and their wives. They were a symbol for a high social status, treasures, authority, emperor and empress.

People believed that seeing the dragon was like seeing the emperor and the empress. Even the daily clothing and articles of emperors and their consorts were decorated with dragons. Actually, almost all the things related to the emperor or his empress were preceded by the word “dragon” such as: “dragon robe” for the emperor’s ceremonial dress, “dragon seat” for the throne and so on.


The throne hall was supported by columns decorated with gold dragons and the screen walls displayed them in vivid and brilliant colours. In addition, the central ramps were paved with slabs carved in relief with dragons.



Under the Qing Dynasty, the flag of China featured a huge dragon. The earliest stamps put out by this country were named “dragon-heads” as their design featured a dragon.

Today, dragons are still a symbol for China and they are used for many Chinese abroad exhibitions or on the cover designs of books on China printed by foreign publishers.


Drawing of this imaginary animal can be traced to primitive society and prehistoric tribes when it was adapted as a totem and a god.There are also many legends that describe the dragon as a miraculous animal with long beards and fish scales. Later, it acquired the mane of the horse, the claws of the eagle and the antlers of the deer, which are the distinctive features of other important creatures.

The Chinese dragon served also as a metaphor in art and literature for honest people and of rare talent, but also for happy marriage and matrimonial harmony. Even today, after such a long time, dragon boats, dragon lanterns are still very popular on various Chinese festivals.