When I think of China, the first image that comes to my mind mind and that I associate with this exotic country is the Chinese dragon. The Chinese dragon is a mythical creature in Chinese mythology that symbolises potent and auspicious powers, such as particularity control over the element of water: rainfall, hurricanes and floods. The Chinese dragon is also a symbol of power, strength and good luck. Most of the time, the Chinese dragon was also used as a symbol of the imperial power.
It is very interesting how the Chinese dragon is referred to, even today. For instance, in Chinese, there are many idioms and expressions that compare people with the Chinese dragon. Those people who are outstanding, have good qualities and are brave, are compared to the dragon, whilst incapable people with no achievements are compared to worms.
When we say dragon, we think of the mythical creature that breathes fire, flies and destroys everything around. The Chinese dragon is very different in this respective. People used to depict the Chinese dragon with the head of a horse and the tail of a snake. Actually, the Chinese dragon is made up of several animals: his horns resemble that of a stag, the head of a camel, the eyes of a demon, the neck of a snake, the belly of an eagle, the scales of a carp, the claws of an eagle, the soles of a tiger and the ears of a cow. Many representations of the Chinese dragon show a flaming pearl under the chin, that is associated with wealth, good luck and prosperity.
The Chinese dragon is considered to represent one of the four elements, water. They are believed to be rulers of moving bodies of water and show themselves as water spouts, under the form of a tornado or a twister. There are actually four major Dragon Kings in Chinese mythology, representing 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 the North Sea seen as Lake Baikal. In many areas, the Chinese dragon is still worshipped, though not like in the past. However, it is still deeply rooted in Chinese cultural traditions, such as Chinese New Year celebrations.