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The Dragon
The Dragon


The Chinese dragon, unlike its western cousin, is considered to be a benevolent creature, the custodian of rain, river and lakes, and a harbinger of good fortune.

In Chinese mythology the dragon is described as having the body of a snake, the face of a horse, antlers of the deer and claws of the eagle. The dragon has the beard of a goat and the scales of a fish. But where did such a creature come from? Is there any evidence to suggest such a creature ever existed?

Well, sadly not. No such creature's remains have ever been found, although records of dragons in Chinese culture go back many thousands of years.

One explanation of how the dragon came to be is as follows. Early societies had as their tribal mascot an animal - for example a horse or a camel or a fish. This is in fact something which we observe even today with the American eagle, the British lion or the Russian bear. These symbols were used both for religious as well as military purposes, and rather as the Romans would march with the Eagle as their standard, these emblems were used as military insignia.

The theory goes that as a tribe went to battle and conquered another, it would incorporate some form of the conquered tribe's ensignia. In this way it is beleived the Xia clan, who had a snake as its emblem annexed states such as the Shang - an eagle. Thus, to the snake's body was added the claws of the eagle. Soon the scales of fish, antlers of the deer, face of the horse and the beard of the goat all came to be incorporated, and thereby the Chinese dragon came into being.

So powerful did the emblem of the dragon become that it was adopted by every Chinese dynasty as the Imperial emblem, from Huang Di to the Qing (Manchu) Dynasty without exception. As early as the Tang and Song dynasties Dragon King Temple's were built where the people could pray for blessings and a good harvest - all in the hands of the dragons as they controlled the rain.

UPDATE[ 2007-10-28 ]    HIT[ 6744 ]
 
 
 
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