Chinese Dragon Symbol Meaning and Mythology Explained

Updated February 16, 2022
Chinese dragon

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 powerful sheng chi it releases through each breath. You can tap into this tremendous power when using this iconic dragon symbol in your life.

What Does the Chinese Dragon Mean?

Unlike the dragons found in the western culture, Chinese dragons are gentle, friendly, and wise. Depicted as benevolent figures in mythical dragon drawings, it is easy to understand why the beautiful Chinese dragons 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

Chinese Dragon Symbol Mythology

Chinese dragon symbol calligraphy

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. The popular mythology around the carp gives strong support to the fish origin story of Chinese dragons.

The Legend of the Carp

As legends say, 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. It's believed that the dragon's scales originated with the carp's shiny scales. Chinese dragons are strongly associated with moving water, such as rivers, oceans and waterfalls. They are known as the lords of moving water.

The Nine Chinese Dragon Meanings

In Chinese mythology, there are nine classical types of dragons. Mythical dragons are often associated with a ruler or dynasty or a natural element, like water or wind.

  • A horned dragon - The most powerful kind of dragon
  • The winged dragon - The oldest of all the Chinese dragon; 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 - A water dragon sometimes known as a river dragon, resembling a crocodile
  • The yellow dragon - Presented Emperor Fu Shui with writing instruments after it rose from the water
  • The dragon king - Composed 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

Chinese Dragon Colors

Much of the Chinese dragon symbolism and mythology is tied to color. The Chinese dragon colors are significant to their power, and can be used as good luck symbols and support for manifesting goals.

  • The Red Dragon: Luck and good fortune
  • The Yellow/Gold Dragon: Wealth and social standing
  • The Green Dragon: New life and nature
  • The Blue Dragon: Harmony and peace.
  • The White Dragon: Purity and the cycle of life.
  • The Black Dragon: Power and honor.

Chinese Dragon Spiritual Meaning

Chinese paper dragons

Dragons are a common theme in spirituality, as their mythology is powerful and significant. In Eastern mythology, the spiritual meaning of the Chinese dragon is filled with positive associations and good fortune. The spirit of the Chinese dragon is benevolent, and is often seen performing heroic or helpful acts in stories shared since ancient times. Seeing a Chinese dragon in your dreams can be a good omen, and is a popular tattoo design because of their positive traits.

  • Strength
  • Good fortune
  • Freedom
  • Courage
  • Overcoming adversity

Chinese Zodiac and the Dragon

The dragon is the fifth animal sign in the 12-animal Chinese zodiac. Those born under the dragon portray many of its characteristics, such as being highly successful, lucky, and honorable.

The dragon is your Chinese zodiac animal sign if you were born:

Chinese Dragon Birthdates
From To
February 23, 1928 February 9, 1929
February 9, 1940 January 26, 1941
January 27, 1952 February 13, 1953
February 13, 1964 February 1, 1965
January 31, 1976 February 17, 1977
February 17, 1988 February 5, 1989
February 5, 2000 January 23, 2001
January 23, 2012 February 9, 2013
February 10, 2024 January 25, 2025

The Power of the Chinese Dragon Symbol

The Chinese dragon is a mythical creature that can be misunderstood in Western culture. The positive and benevolent nature of the dragon can be a helpful and lucky figure in your home and life. Bringing Chinese dragon symbolism into your home or office will enhance the positive energy of sheng chi and provide you with the protection and power of the dragon.

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Chinese Dragon Symbol Meaning and Mythology Explained