Understanding the Chinese Dragon Symbol

View a slideshow of Dragon Artwork

From majestic statues and colorful paintings to calligraphy scrolls and detailed drawings, each Chinese dragon symbol represents the power of the auspicious mythical creature and the cosmic sheng chi it releases through each breath.

How the Symbol of the Chinese Dragon Evolved

Although no one really knows the origins of dragon lore in China, experts do agree on where the symbol of the dragon originated. The dragon symbol evolved from the emblems used by the ancient tribes of China. Archeologists do not agree, however, on whether the dragon came from the symbol of a fish, a crocodile or a snake. Chinese legends, art, folk stories, and archeological finds support each of the theories with most experts supporting the theory of the fish.

Those that believe dragons evolved from crocodiles compare the crocodile's ability to sense coming rain or the changes in air pressure to the dragon's ability to change the weather.

The Legend of the Carp

As legend tells a carp once saw a mountain and wanted to visit it. The determined fish swam upstream, over waterfalls and through rapids to reach the mountain. The carp came upon a mythical Dragon Gate, successfully leaped over it and became a dragon. Chinese dragons are strongly associated with moving water such as rivers, oceans and waterfalls. They are known as the lords of moving water.

The Symbolism of the Dragon

Unlike the dragons found in the western culture, Chinese dragons are gentle, friendly and wise. Depicted as mythical dragon drawings it is easy to understand why these beautiful creatures, the dragons of China, were loved and worshiped.

Considered the angels of the Orient, the dragon symbolizes the natural forces of nature. yin yang dragons symbolize the balance of all things in the universe.

The Chinese dragon, known as Lung or Long, symbolizes many things including:

  • Greatness
  • Blessing
  • Goodness
  • Power
  • Excellence
  • Perseverance
  • Heroism
  • Boldness
  • Divinity
  • Nobility
  • Optimism
  • Energy
  • Intelligence
  • Male fertility and vigor
  • The Emperor - the Son of the Heaven

The Nine Chinese Dragons

In Chinese mythology there are nine classical types of dragons.

  • A horned dragon - The most powerful kind of dragon.
  • The winged dragon - The oldest of all the Chinese dragons served the yellow emperor, Huang Di.
  • The celestial dragon - Considered the divine mythical creature by the Chinese people, this dragon represents good fortune, prosperity and abundance. It is the protector of the mansions of the Gods.
  • The spiritual dragon - Brings rain and wind to the earth to benefit man.
  • The dragon of hidden treasures - Protects concealed wealth.
  • A coiling dragon - This dragon is a water dragon.
  • The yellow dragon - Presented Emperor Fu Shui with writing instruments after it rose from the water.
  • The dragon king - Comprised of four separate dragons each ruling one of the four seas of the north, south, east and west.
  • The homeless dragon - Lives in the ocean or in the mountains.

Ancient Chinese Dragon Symbol

The earliest symbol for the dragon appeared in ancient China, during the Yin and Shang dynasties, between the 16th and 11th century B.C. These early Chinese hieroglyphics were found on turtle shields and bones between inscriptions.During the Han dynasty, from 206 B.C. to 220A.D, the colors of Chinese dragons each had a different symbolic meaning. For example, turquoise dragons symbolized the following:

  • The Emperor
  • Rising sun
  • The rain
  • The East
  • The fifth element of the Chinese zodiac

The Chinese Dragon in Your Home

The Chinese symbol for the word dragon, as shown on the top right-hand side of the page, is one of the most complex of all the Chinese symbols. The symbol, called a hanja, is popular as a calligraphy scroll wall hanging, painting or drawing. Hanging artwork of the symbol for dragon brings the power and protection of the dragon into your home while increasing the flow of auspicious chi.Calligraphy scrolls are often made on rice paper using a special ink or the symbol is painted on white brocade. The Chinese Calligraphy Store offers a beautiful selection of dragon calligraphy scrolls with a nice selection of symbols for various kinds of dragons.

Find Chinese Dragon Symbols Online


Whether you choose a painting, drawing, statue or calligraphy scroll, bringing a Chinese dragon symbol into your home or office will enhance the sheng chi and provide you with the protection and power of the dragon.

Understanding the Chinese Dragon Symbol