Chinese dragons are important because they are a significant part of the folklore and mythology of China. In addition to being significant in Chinese culture, dragons can also be seen in prominent roles within the cultures of Japan, Korea, Turkey and Vietnam. It’s for these reasons that it is so common to see dragons in art from these cultures, regardless of whether that art is in the form of a painting on a canvas or a sleeve tattoo on someone’s arm.
One point that is confusing to many people who are not from any of these cultures is that Chinese dragons are not seen as evil. The reason that this is confusing for people from other cultures is because most are familiar with the European perception of dragons, which is one of dragons being an evil beast that need to be killed by courageous human heroes. However, the Chinese view of dragons is very different. For Chinese and the other cultures listed above, dragons symbolize significant power over floods, rainfall and water.
Because the Chinese respect dragons so much (to the point where it is very taboo to disfigure any depiction of a dragon) and there is a widespread misconception of how the Chinese view dragons among Western cultures, certain issues have arisen before. One notable example is when Nike decided to create an advertising campaign that showed LeBron James slaying a dragon. While people in Western cultures were entertained by this campaign, not only was it a failure in Chinese cultures, but it was actually banned by the government of China for being so disrespectful.