In the West, the dragon has wings, spouts flames, eats women and young children and is often killed by knights in shining armor. Even in Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the dragon is a monster that terrorizes, kills and hoards gold.
Not in China where dragons are seldom depicted as evil. The dragon to the Chinese may be fearsome and powerful but the creature is often considered just, benevolent and the bringer of wealth and good fortune. Dragons even appear in ancient Chinese literature.
Instead of flying, Chinese dragons are seen as water creatures that live in lakes, rivers and oceans. One quarter of the sky is called the Palace of the Green Dragon and the dragon constellation is said to predict rain. The dragon is also the fifth sign of the Chinese zodiac.
When Buddhism arrived in China, dragon symbolism was added to the religion, and in Beijing, there is the famous Nine Dragon Screen.
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