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Chinese Dragon

by TattoosNear 13 Oct 2021

The Chinese dragon has an extremely important position in the hearts of the Chinese people. The Chinese dragon has an important relationship with natural celestial phenomena, folk customs, and historical culture.

chinese dragon

Chinese Dragon History

In traditional Chinese culture, the Chinese dragon has an important position and influence. According to historical records, more than 7,000 years ago in the Neolithic Age, our ancestors began to worship primitive dragon totems. Today, people still use "dragon" idioms or allusions to describe the beautiful things in life.

Regarding the origin of the dragon, there are many opinions from academia and folk. At the moment, there are four main theories of origin ---

One is a fictional fetish from prehistoric times. 

When the Chinese ancestors transformed from apes to humans, they not only had to obtain survival food and other resources from the natural world, but also worshiped and awed the mysterious nature. In prehistoric beliefs, the worship of animals is one of the important contents. This is because the ancestors’ original way of life was hunting, and animals were the objects of most interest. The singular abilities of animals such as crocodiles, salamanders, snakes, birds, and certain insects in nature produce worship and fantasy, and gradually awe, worship and fantasy of the "gods" in nature, so that the most magical part of absorbing many animal images A fictional combination of the "dragon". As the Han scholar Wang Chong once pointed out, “The dragon’s horns are like a deer, its head is like a camel, its eyes are like rabbits, its neck is like a snake, its belly is like a mirage, its scales are like carp, its claws are like eagles, its palms are like tigers, and its ears are like oxen.” 

The second is from the sanctification of primitive sacrificial activities. 

The worship of animals and natural phenomena by the ancestors of primitive society has become an important part of witchcraft activities. They often associate the success or failure of hunting and their own safety with the "god" that dominates nature, and they produce the earliest sacrifices. The ancestors used part of hunting animals to sacrifice to the gods to express their hope and worship for the gods. As primitive humans transitioned from hunting to agriculture and animal husbandry, animal sacrifices were gradually sacred. From the initial stage, simple sacrifices became a solemn ceremony, which was widely used in various prayers. In addition to animals as sacrificial objects, a large number of sacrificial vessels are often used, and natural images or imaginary and exaggerated animal patterns are painted on sacrificial vessels, which has special meaning. The original dragon-like ornamentation was called the "proto-dragon pattern" by archaeologists. From an ancient tomb on Xishuipo, Puyang, Henan, about 6,500 years ago, archaeologists discovered a "dragon" pattern made of white clam shells beside the tomb owner. Archaeologists have also unearthed painted pottery with salamander patterns in Gansu, a jade "dragon" 5000 years ago in the Liaohe River Basin in the northeast, and painted pottery with "panlong pattern" in Shanxi.

The fourth is from peculiar natural phenomena. 

The dragon image in culture is weird and magical, and has the ability to reach the sky. Some peculiar natural celestial phenomena that have some similar meanings or images to the dragon are also attached to Jackie Chan. For example, the "Shan Hai Jing" records that outside the Northwest Sea, in the north of Chishui, there is a mountain called Zhangwei Mountain. There is a "candle dragon" on the mountain. Lisheng is like two straight seams. It controls the change of day and night and the flow of time by blinking, closing eyes is night, and opening eyes is day. The place where the candle dragon lives is "Han Ze" where the sun can't get enough light. Today, experts have verified that the candle dragon described is actually the Northern Lights. After the rain, the rainbow is also attached to the dragon. The rainbow is colorful like an arch bridge connecting the heavens and the earth. The close connection with rain and water led the ancient ancestors to associate the rainbow with the dragon, thinking that the double-headed dragon sucked water into the river. In addition, tornadoes and lightning bolts were regarded as dragons or dragon activities by the ancestors.

Although there are many theories about the origin of the dragon, after long-term research and verification, the academic community has reached a basic consensus: the dragon is a complex of various animals and a symbol of totem worship formed in primitive society. In today's society, dragon culture exists as a way of folklore expression.

chinese dragon

 The Symbol of Chinese Dragon

 For thousands of years, the existence of the image of the dragon is not only a symbol, but also a mood and a feeling of awe, which has an important influence in traditional Chinese culture. From the perspective of folk culture, the characteristics and functions of dragons mainly have the following aspects:

First, the dragon has the function of manage water and rain.

There are many legends in ancient mythology and folklore about the dragon's ability to move clouds and rain, eliminate disasters and bring blessings. According to legend, Dayu had to use dragons to dredge rivers and dig out mountains and rocks. According to textual research, the traditional folk's ability to give dragons to manage water and rain-buying is related to the development of witchcraft for praying for rain. China was the first country in the world to enter the agricultural civilization. In the ancient times when the productivity was very backward, the weather conditions determined the quality of the agricultural harvest and affected the fate of the ancestors. Praying for rain became an ancient witchcraft activity. Rain. According to the "Quan Tang Poems", when people pray for rain in the Tang Dynasty, they filled the big urn with soil, put wooden lizards into the soil, and then held green bamboos with children in Tsing Yi, singing and dancing around the urn: "Lizards, lizards, Xing Clouds spit out the fog, the rain is torrential, let you go back." The lizard is one of the prototypes of the dragon, and it acts as a substitute for the dragon in the ceremony.

Second, the dragon has evolved from a divine beast to a personified king. 

With the development of history, the Houlong in the Han Dynasty evolved from the original divine beast to a characterized dragon king. It is reported that this originated from the introduction of Buddhism and the establishment of Taoism. Buddhism was founded by Sakyamuni of India in the fifth and sixth centuries BC and gradually spread to the Central Plains through the Western Regions. During the process of spreading, Buddhism gradually became sinicized. Not only did it incorporate traditional Chinese culture in conceptual terms, but also the dragon was the protector of the eight gods. The concept of "Dragon King". According to the "Buddhist Scriptures", the Dragon King lived in the sea with a majestic and gorgeous palace, and the Buddha once went to the underwater dragon palace to preach the Dharma. The Taoist dragon can not only provide for the Taoist immortals to ride and ride, but also use water to fight fires, and has the responsibility of guarding the earth. There are dragons in the heavens, dragons in all seas, dragons in five directions, dragons in thirty-eight mountains, dragons in twenty-four directions, and gradually everywhere there is water, whether lakes, seas, rivers, or ponds, or even wells and springs. Inside, there is no dragon king resident, which in a certain sense suits the psychological and cultural needs of ancient Chinese people. 

Third, the palace culture dragon is hailed as a symbol of the emperor. 

"Dragon gives birth to nine sons, each is different." According to records, after the Han Dynasty, the dragon gradually became a symbol of imperial power in court culture. The fable of "Ye Gong Hao Long" written by the scholar Liu Xiang of the Han Dynasty may use the "dragon" to insinuate the emperor's authority. In order to maintain their rule, feudal emperors often rely on dragons to establish authority and further deify the dragon, which in turn became a symbol of imperial power. At that time, the emperor's body was called "dragon body", his face was called "dragon face", his clothes were called "dragon robe", his chair was called "dragon chair", and his bed was called "dragon bed." In the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties, the emperor's dragon robe and the dragon in the palace became five-clawed dragons. This is why people later called the son of the emperor "the son of the dragon", and the dragon evolved into a symbol of the emperor and general.

Fourth, the use of "dragon" in the zodiac. 

Among the twelve zodiac signs in our country, eleven are all animals that can be seen in life, and the only illusory animal is the dragon. There is no exact written record about the origin of the zodiac, but the use of the zodiac has appeared in the Northern and Southern Dynasties. We know that the Chinese zodiac is determined by the beginning of spring in the Chinese yellow calendar. In folklore, the zodiac is the year of reincarnation. If sorted by the zodiac to the middle of each month of the lunar year, we can reason to look at the folk events of the "dragon". Dragon Pai is in the fifth month of the lunar calendar. This month is when awns are planted, which indicates that wheat and other awn crops are mature, while southern mid-season rice has entered the stage of turning green and the seedlings are tender and green. At this time, it is not difficult to dominate the celestial phenomena with the weathered and rainy dragon. Understand why the dragon, the only animal with virtual mythology, was designated as the Chinese zodiac and ranked fifth.

Today, in real life, no matter language, painting, sculpture, arts and crafts, or rural customs, culture and entertainment, the dragons represented by it are everywhere and diverse. But no matter where it is, it always shows a vigorous and majestic image.

 Descendants of the Chinese Dragon

 For thousands of years, the diligent descendants of Yan and Huang have inherited the dragon culture of dragon designs, dragon beliefs, and dragon customs. The dragon has become the ancient totem mark of the Chinese nation. In Chinese culture, the dragon has penetrated all aspects of Chinese society, has become a cultural cohesion and accumulation, and has become the spiritual totem of the Chinese nation.

 Chinese Dragon Meaning

The majesty of the dragon and the magical powers of the dragon entrust the idea of overcoming everything, and symbolize the spirit of self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-improvement. The so-called self-esteem, self-respect, and self-improvement spirit is the spirit of maintaining one's dignity, respecting oneself, and consciously improving, never stopping, pursuing the truth, studying hard, courageously fighting, daring to be the first, not afraid of difficulties, and going forward courageously. 

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chinese dragon tattoo

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