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DRAGONS AROUND THE WORLD ...

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Chinese Dragons




The Chinese dragon is the most famous category of Oriental dragon. Its serpentine body and ferocious bearded face readly come to mind when considering such creatures.

The scholar Wang Fu, who, lived during the Han dynasty (206BCE-220CE), detailed its morphology. It is an exermely complex combination of features drawn from nine very distinct entities. The Chinese dragonss head is that of a camel, its eyes are a demons, its ears a cows, its horns are the branched antlers of a stag, its neck is a snakes, its belly a clams. The souls of its feet are a tigers, whilst its claws are that of an eagle. The 117 scales sheathing its long body are those of a carp. Of these scales 81 of them are infused with a benevolent essence or yang and 36 with a malign essence or yin. Although Oriental dragons are primarily benign their influence can sometimes be malavolent too.

It has been said that the Chinese dragons ability to fly stems from the Chiih muh, a bladder-like swelling on top of its head; and the potent power of the male dragon is derived from a large luminous pearl concealed under its chin or throat by folds of skin.

Unlike its western cousins, the Chinese dragon undergoes a series of profound metamorphic transformations during its gradual progress from hatchling to mature dragon. This is a lengthy processspanning 3,000 years. They hatch from a brightly coloured gemlike egg laid a millennium earlier. When the first crack appears in an egg, the parents each cry out. The fathers cry whips up the winds and the mothers cry calms them. Lashing rain and booming thunder rocks the world as the egg bursts open and the young dragon is born.

Its first phase is that of a water snake which takes 500 years to develop the head of a carp, at this point it is known as a kiao. After a millennium has passed it gains its carp scales. In general appearence it has become an anguinine dragon, with short limbs, an elongate tail and face, a profuse beard and four sharp claws on each foot.At this stage of its growth it is called a kiao-lung or just a lung, which translates as deaf for although its has ears at this stage it cannot hear. During the next 500 years, however, the lung grows a pair of horns. The dragon can hear through these horns, now it is known as a kioh-lung and this is the most familiar form of Chinese dragon.

This is not its final change, however, another millennium is needed in order for it to gain the rarest characteristics of the oriental dragon, a pair of branching wings. Fully mature at last, the winged dragon is called a ying-lung and is truly a wonder to behold.



Western Dragon



PHYSIOLOGY: Thick, long bodied, scaly skin, four strong legs, two bat-like wings, wedge-shaped heads, and long necks. They usually are portrayed as breathing fire. Some breeds of these dragons have been known to be shape changers, and others have the chameleon power to change color of their background. They are sometimes displayed as having a spade or spiked tail. They eat but once a month on a sheep or ox, or even a human (myth says they prefer virgin maidens). They can be any color, or many colors, depending on the breed of the dragon.

HISTORY: When most people think "dragon" they most likely think of the Western dragon. Western dragons are usually portrayed as evil, mean, and bloodthirsty. They were also known to have huge hoards of gold and jewels hidden in their lairs. The most famous dragons are portrayed as Western-type dragons: St. George and the Dragon
, Beowulf and the Dragon, and Draco in the movie DragonHeart. Some stories have the western dragon as the Devil in Christianity. Other stories in legend say that eating a dragons' heart will give the consumer the power of understanding birds, eating the dragons' tongue enables the person to win any argument, and rubbing the dragons' blood on skin will protect against stab wounds. Another myth references Vlad Drakul to mean Son of the Dragon, or Devil. The end of the dragon came with Christianity, and knights that were eager to prove their faith. The knights quickly discovered that dragon-hunting was very profitable, and soon most the dragons in the world were destroyed in a very short time. Vikings had dragon figureheads on the prow of their ships. The dragons on the ships were believed to endow keen site and cunning to the Viking warriors. Today the Welsh flag still has a red dragon on a green/white background, and the red dragon is their national symbol.


Eastern Dragon


PHYSIOLOGY: These three species of dragons look very similar, but come from different parts of the world. They all have sinuous serpentine bodies, have four legs, they do not usually breath fire, usually shown not to have wings, but are illustrated to have them which is the Adult Imperial Dragon. The dragons are said to be made up of many different types of animals of the Earth: the body of a snake, scales of a carp (fish), head of a camel, horns of a giant stag (deer), the eyes of a hare (rabbit), ears like a bull, a neck like an inguana, belly of a frog, paws like a tigers, and claws like an eagle. Most of the time they are shown to have a lion-type mane around its neck, on its chin, and on each elbow. They have two antler-type horns decorating their wide-mouthed head, and two long "feeler" whiskers spreading out from their snout. Eastern dragons have 117 scales, 81 infused with yang, the good, and 36 infused with yin, the bad. This evens out the dragons temper and personality.

There are three families of Eastern dragons: 3 toed, 4 toed, and 5 toed. Three toed dragons are Japanese. Four toed dragons are Indonesian or Korean. Five toed dragons are Chinese. They are shown in the colors blue, black, white, red, or yellow. Oriental dragons are usually shown with a pearl in their mouth, under their chin, or in their claws. This is apparently where the dragon gets its power, and how it ascends to heaven. Roasted swallows are the Chinese dragon's favorite food.

HISTORY: In China dragons are known as Lung. There are four main kinds of Lung: Tien-lung , The Celestial Dragon: who protect the places of the Gods, Shen-Lung, The Spiritual Dragon: who control the wind and the rain, Ti-Lung , The Earth Dragon which control rivers, and water on the Earth, and Fut's-Lung , The Underworld Dragon which guards precious metals and gems. Separate dragons control the rivers of the North, South, East and West. The commander of all the River Dragons is Great Chien-Tang who is blood red, has a firey mane, and is 900 feet long.

Eastern dragons are portrayed as good, kind, and intelligent. Oriental Dragons have the most recorded history in the world, especially in China going back thousands of years. In history they have a very close link to the weather. It is said that some of the worst flooding in Asia's History were caused when a mortal has upset a dragon. In Chinese history, the 5 toed dragon is the symbol of power, and are considered "Imperial Dragons". Long ago, it became law in China that only the Emperor could have a five-clawed dragon displayed on his robes or illustrated on anything the Emperor owned. It was usually a Yellow dragon, thought to be the most superior of all the colored dragons. If someone other than the Emperor was caught wearing the symbol of the 5-toed dragon, he was put to death.

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