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Dragons are mythological winged
beings from ancient cultures that have survived until present times through many
myths and legends. Although they have been portrayed as disgusting beasts and
evil enemies to mankind, and they are connected to heavenly winged gods who came
to Earth to create the human race.
Symbology cites dragons as beings born at a time
other than humans: the time of chaos when creation came out of destruction. In
alchemy, the symbology, dragons represent the volatile elements when winged, or
the fixed elements have no wings. Dragons are cited frequently in oral and
written traditions, including European tales and legends from the Middle Ages.
Dragon's image aroused spontaneously based on the appearance of a snake,
possibly fusion of fossilized dinosaur remains and more often winged. Although
mythology related to dragons is virtually common to all people around the world,
these fabulous creatures have different characteristics depending of the region
from where they come.
There are perhaps no other culture than Chinese as
devoted to dragons, symbol of auspicious power, in fact, the symbol of Hong
Kong, which was the most wealthiest region of China under the British
Protectorate from the middle 19th century and until the end of the 20th century.
Since ancient times, Chinese considered dragons as "The spirit of the way"'
bringing eternal change. Chinese traditions speak of four magical, spiritual and
benevolent animals; the Unicorn, the Phoenix, the Tortoise and the most revered
of them; the Dragon, immortalized in temples and ornaments in most households.
According to Chinese folklore, dragons are
associated to yang, water and weather. They are the bringers of rain, hence
rulers of waterfalls, rivers, or seas, manifesting themselves as a tornado or
twister over water.
Traditionally, there are nine major types of Chinese dragons. The winged dragon,
the horned dragon, the spiritual dragon, the coiling dragon, and the yellow
dragon, among the most commonly know. Additionally, the dragon of hidden
treasures, the celestial dragon protecting and supporting the mansions of the
gods, and the Dragon King race, represented by 4 dragons ruling the 4 seas
associated to the four cardinal points.
There are also nine ways to represent the nine
Chinese Dragons, each one revealing different dragon's characteristics.
Carved on tops of gongs and bells,
symbol of its habit of calling loudly when attacked.
Carved on screws of fiddles, since
most dragons are extremely fond of music.
Carved on tops of stone tablets,
because dragons are in love with literature.
At the bottom of stone monuments,
because dragons can support heavy weights.
Placed on the eaves of temples,
since dragons are always alert to danger.
On the beams of bridges, because
dragons belong to the water and are fond of it.
Carved on Buddha's throne, as
dragons like to rest.
Placed on the hilts of swords,
because they are known to be capable of slaughter.
Carved on prison gates, as they
are fond of quarreling and trouble making.
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