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Chinese Dragon Legends and Cultural Importance

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Kathie Zhang

on 11 February 2014

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Transcript of Chinese Dragon Legends and Cultural Importance

Chinese Dragon Legends and Cultural Importance
Celebrations with Dragons
In the Duanwu Festival, dragon boat-racing consists of 20 paddlers with drummer and steersmen and the head of dragon boat, takes place.
At Chinese New Year, festivities include dancing with dragon puppets controlled by a team of people. Choreographed moves are performed to the accompaniment of drums, drama, and music.
Once no rivers or lakes existed on earth, only a single sea where four Dragons lived. The four Dragons–Long, Yellow, Eastern, and Pearl served the Jade Emperor, who lived high in the heavens. It was the job of the four Dragons to watch over the people. The Queen was jealous of the Emperor caring for Earth's people, so she put him into a trance. Two weeks passed and the Emperor began to forget to send rain, and the land became withered and dry. The Dragons decided they had to do something, coming up with a plan to scoop up the water in the sea and let it fall upon the land. The seawater soon filled the clouds and, before long, rain began to fall upon the land. The people rejoiced but the Jade Emperor was furious because the dragons acted without his permission.
In his fury, the Emperor caught the dragons and punished them by placing each on a different mountain so they could never escape. The four Dragons, wanting only to do good for the people forever, decided to transform into four rivers. In the far north, Black Dragon became the Heilongjian (Black River), which served as a border between China and Russia, keeping the people safe from invaders. Yellow Dragon’s water flowed across the middle of the country and became the Huanghe (Yellow River). The river brought many minerals down from the mountain enriching the soil for the growing of rice and many spices. In the lands to the South, Long Dragon became the Changjiang (Yangtze or Long River). The river was used as a quick way to travel, allowing the people to share crops and goods with those once too far away. In the South, Pearl Dragon flowed to the sea as the Zhujiang (Pearl River.) The River supplied water to the people in the south of the country.
Now when the song of the fairies entrances the Jade Emperor, the people no longer suffer, for water from the rivers of the four dragons help supply the needs of the people.

(Abondoned Towers Magazine)
The Dragon of Kinabalu
The Dragon of Kinabalu owned a grand pearl that it carefully guarded. The Chinese Emperor came to know about this dragon and immediately desired this precious pearl. He sent his two sons, Wee Ping and Wee San, to go and capture the pearl. The emperor's sons traveled to the top of Mount Kinabalu in Borneo(which was the place where the dragon was said to have lived). Once they had reached the mountain, Wee San plotted a plan to steal the pearl when the dragon would go out to search for food. Wee San planned to use a kite to fly to the top of the mountain, while his brother stayed on land and controlled the kite. Wee San successfully captured the pearl and he and his brother sailed back home. The dragon soon found out they had stolen the pearl and chases after them on the sea. Wee San let out a cannon from the ship abruptly killing the dragon. During the journey back home Wee Ping became jealous of the importance givin to Wee San and the accomplishments Wee San had achieved. Once they had landed on their kingdom, Wee Ping took all credit of their journey. Poor Wee San was disappointed but simply let the problem go in affection towards his brother. Later on in the years, Wee San became a succesful ruler while Wee Ping became the complete opposite of successful.
Dragon Legends
Dragons were the representation of the imperial power of the ancient emperors
Carvings of dragons were depicted on the steps leading to many ancient palaces and tombs, most notably, the Forbidden City in Beijing
In postmodern times, Chinese villages had temples built for their "dragon king". Sacrifices were made to please the dragon, so he could stop flooding or stop a drought.
Officials would wear a certain amount of dragons on their robes based on their ranking (the Emperor would wear nine dragons on his robe).
Types of Dragons
Chinese Dragons
Legendary creatures usually portrayed as long, scaled, serpentine creatures with four legs
The ancient Chinese believed dragons to have supernatural powers. They were a symbol of power, strength, success, luck and honor.
Chinese dragons did not breathe fire, nor were they thought to be entirely evil beasts. They were viewed as being wise and caring, possessing personalities, and exhibited magical powers. Dragons only turned into beasts if they were angered.
Dragons associated with weather and powerful and embodiment of Chinese “yang”
Think it over: Good Vs.Bad Dragons
Do you think dragons are truly good or truly evil? Explain why you think so.
Have you ever heard of any dragons myths/legends? If so, describe the legend.
By: Kathy Chang, Jessica Yan, Jenny Li, Eshika Kaul, Anu Chandrashekar
Dragon's Cultural Importance
In Dragonwings, a novel written by Laurence Yep, there was a large controversy about whether dragons were evil or good. To the Chinese, like Moon Shadow, dragons were always considered good and generous, with little exceptions. When Moon Shadow and Windrider meet Mrs. Whitlaw, their landlord in America, they view a beautiful stained-glass window that displays a complicated scene of an evil, fire-breathing dragon. Moon Shadow is surprised that Americans believe that dragons destroy civilizations and hurt people, and he learns that not all cultures necessarily have the same beliefs.
Dragon Belief's Cultural Importance
During the late Qin Dynasty, the dragon was adopted as the national flag
In the Qin Dynasty, the five-clawed dragon represented the emperor, while the 4-clawed and 3-clawed dragons were assigned to the commoners
The "Nine Dragon Wall", a screen wall with nine different dragons, was constructed in imperial Chinese palaces and gardens.
Some modern day Chinese identify themselves as the descendants of the dragon", which arose in the 1970s
The dragon is put on zodiac and is a popular year to have babies.
Actors perform dragon dance on Chinese New Year Eve in Beijing
Chinese dragons usually were made up of 9 various parts from other animals: The head of a camel, the neck and tail of a snake, the body covered with fish scales, the paws of a tiger, the claws with 5 on each paw from an eagle, the ears of an ox, the horns of a deer, and the whiskers of a rat.
There were fire dragons, earth dragons, metal dragons, and water dragons
There were the Dragon of the East Sea, The Dragon of South Sea, The Dragon of the West Sea, The Dragon of the North Sea
Chinese Earth Dragon
Chinese Fire Dragon
Forbidden City Dragon Steps
Chinese Dragon Temple in Taiwan
"Nine Dragon Wall" in Forbidden City
Qin Dynasty dragon flags
Dragon boat racing at Duanwu Festival in Hong Kong, China
Chinese Zodiac
Qin Dynasty style dragon robe
(Dragons Mythical Creature Chinese Legend)
(Chinese Dragon)
(Chinese Dragon)
(Chinese Dragon)
(World Stories)
The Dragon of Kilabalu trying to chase after the Emperor's sons
The Myth of the
Four Lake Dragons
Why does there exist the change of the four seasons? Why does day alternate with night? This it all because there lives a powerful Candle Dragon. It was said that, to the north of the Chishui River, beyond the distant Northwest Sea, there was a strange mountain named Zhangwei Mountain, in which lived a magical god of a mountain who wore a human face, yet with a curving snake-like body of more than 1000 li.The whole body of the mountain god was thoroughly red like a fiery dragon.
The mountain god was so mighty that when he closed his eyes, night befell the earth and when he opened them, the world
turned into daytime. He winked and winked, and days and
nights occurred alternately.
The mountain god never slept and he always curled up there without eating, drinking or breathing. Once he breathed, there would appear the fierce wind and torrential rain; once
he blew, there would be winter. in a second the
sky filled with black clouds and heavy snow storms;
once he sniffed, there would be midsummer in no time a
with scorching sun that could even melt the stones.
The red and long body of the mountain god
could shine divinely, and even the dark and
deep underground was brightened. He often
held in his mouth a candle lightening the dark
gate of heaven in the north, thus he was
called "Candle Dragon" or "Candle Yin".
(Cultural China)
(Monsters of Legend: Dragons)
Abandoned Towers Magazine.
K.E. Abel, 2008. Web. 28 Jan. 2014.
Chinese Dragon.
Wikipedia, 18 Jan. 2014. Web. 22 Jan. 2014.
Cultural China.
Shanghai Xinhong Cultural Development Co.Ltd, 2007. Web. 1 Feb. 2014.
Dragons Mythical Creature Chinese Legend.
RR Donnelley, 2002. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.
Monsters of Legend:Dragons.
The History Channel. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 5 Feb. 2014.
World Stories.
Adept Digital, n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2014.

Dragon Video
(Dragons Mythical Creature Chinese Legend)
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