The Chinese Dragon: The Symbol for Chinese Culture

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  943 Words
Date:  2022-03-11

Culture is the art and demonstration of human theoretical progress. Culture distinguishes people from various backgrounds. Artifacts, objects, pieces of art, buildings, and maps represent the material part of the culture. The symbols in culture have definite meaning among the people and influence the lifestyle of the people. Moreover, the symbols are used during cultural events to display different emotions and the importance of the ceremony. In Asia the Chinese culture is represented by a dragon symbol. The dragon symbol plays an important role in the Chinese culture as it is associated with their history, cultural behavior and events in their cultural practices.

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The origin of the dragon symbol in the Chinese culture is dated back in history from their ancestry. The Chinese people believe to originate from Yandi and Huangdi, who are legendary tribal leaders (Mcneal, 680). It is believed that Yandi's mother gave birth to him from her telepathy with a dragon. The Chinese myths explain that the mighty dragon had nine sons who are Quiniu, Yazi, Chaofeng, Pulao, Suanni, Bixi, Bi'an, Fuxi, and Chiwen (Mcneal, 681). The sons had different characters and portraits. The images of the sons are used in imperial zones for decoration.

The dragon images have evolved with the changing dynasties in the Chinese leadership. During the Shang Dynasty dated between 1600-1046 BC the dragon was a prodigy with two paws, and people worshipped it (Abouali, Ladan, Zhihui Wu, and Kaner, 82). The dragon was considered a supernatural power. In 1046-771BC during the Early Zhou Dynasty the dragon's image was changed by the phoenix coronets, and they appeared feminine. In the Spring and Autumn period dated between 770-476 BC the dragon symbol was shaped to be stronger and looked more masculine with four paws. It was an element that represented a good omen. The drunken symbol underwent massive development during the Qin and Han Dynasties. The dragon was made to represent the monarchial power. It was shaped to have claws, and its belly structured into a snakes shape. Longhorns were fixed on it and its ears made pointed. During song and Yuan's dynasty the dragon image was embedded to any Chinese painting that had high aesthetic value (Abouali et al., 85). The dragon image underwent final development during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The image became the symbol for royalty and was only used by emperors. The dragon image was characterized by five paws.

The Chinese dragons are virtual creations of the mind since their existence cannot be proved. Unlike the common knowledge of dragons being a threat to human life by their scary body features and spitting fire, the dragons are believed to be good in the Chinese culture. The dragon symbols have a wide range of significance to the Chinese culture. The dragons are symbols of luck and power. Politics, weather, divinity, and myths are the factors that ascribe the Chinese culture to dragon symbols.

In politics, the dragon symbol represents the royalty of the emperor and dignity of the position held by the emperor (Mcneal,701). The Chinese believe that dragons are the rulers of all animals in the universe, and therefore anyone in authority has the qualities of the dragon. The royal robes have embroideries of the dragon. The dragon with five paws symbolizes the power bestowed to the emperor and the dragon with four paws is meant for the princes.

In religion, the dragons are considered to be the elements of good luck. The Chinese believe that dragons are supernatural animals that existed in the ancient times and were good to all other animals hence they are considered to be protectors of all the creation in the world (Mcneal, 703). The dragons were worshipped from the Shang's Dynasty. To the present times, religions in china which include Buddhism and Taoism, have books with records about dragons. Books in Buddhism state that dragons guard the doctrine and they are the protectors of people in the world since they eradicate disaster (Elliot, Esi, Xiao, and Elizabeth Wilson, 206). According to Taoism religion, dragons evolved from snakes and are the creatures that transport people to heaven or hell to face the gods and ghosts.

Weather is an important factor in the agricultural sector. A large number of the Chinese people are farmers and therefore depended fully on the weather patterns. From the ancient belief that the dragons have power and control over the weather, the Chinese are therefore dependent on the dragon symbol for good harvests. Chinese believe that dragons are in charge of sea, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Dragons are also able to call for rains during drought (Elliot et al.,210). Dragon symbols also play an important role in celebrations. An example is the dragon dance that is performed during New Year festivals. In the current world the capability of a dragon to transform influences the Chinese character of being proactive and readiness to adapt to the dynamic world.


In conclusion, the dragon symbol holds a major part of Chinese culture. The symbol represents all the aspects of the Chinese lifestyle ranging from religion to leadership. Moreover, the main economic activity of the Chinese is inclined to the dragon symbol.

Works cited

Abouali, Ladan, Zhihui Wu, and Jake Kaner. "CHINESE VISUAL TRADITIONS ENCOUNTERED ON SAFAVID FURNITURE." Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov.Forestry, Wood Industry, Agricultural Food Engineering.Series II, vol. 11, no. 2, 2018, pp. 81-94.

Elliot, Esi A., Yazhen Xiao, and Elizabeth Wilson. "A Multicultural Blend: Metaphors, Cognitive Social Capital, and Multiculturalism." International Marketing Review, vol. 32, no. 2, 2015, pp. 200-218. doi:

Mcneal, Robin. "Constructing Myth in Modern China." The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 71, no. 3, 2012, pp. 679-704. doi:

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