Let There Be Dragons!

Posted on February 14, 2024

by Joyce S

Dragons hold a significant place in Chinese mythology, folklore, and culture. They are considered highly auspicious creatures and have been revered for thousands of years. Unlike the Western perception of dragons as fire-breathing and malevolent creatures, Chinese dragons are benevolent, powerful, and associated with positive qualities.

Here are some key aspects of dragons in Chinese mythology:

  1. Symbolism: Dragons represent power, strength, good fortune, prosperity, and longevity. They are often associated with water and are believed to have control over rain, rivers, and seas. Chinese emperors considered themselves descendants of dragons, and the dragon became a symbol of imperial authority.
  2. Physical Appearance: Chinese dragons typically have a long serpentine body with four legs, although some may have fewer or none. Unlike Western dragons, they lack wings. Their appearance is often a composite of various animals, including the head of a camel, the horns of a deer, the eyes of a rabbit, the body of a snake, and the scales of a fish.
  3. Colors: Chinese dragons are usually depicted in different colors, each with its own symbolic meaning. The most common colors are yellow, which represents the emperor and royalty, and azure or green, which is associated with the east and spring.
  4. Celestial Dragons: Chinese mythology differentiates between different types of dragons, one of which is the celestial dragon (Tianlong). These dragons guard the heavens and assist the gods in their tasks.
  5. Earth Dragons: Another type of dragon is the earth dragon (Dilong), which is associated with earthly elements and is believed to live in rivers, lakes, and underground bodies of water.
  6. Dragon Kings: Chinese mythology features four dragon kings, each ruling over one of the four seas: the East Sea, the West Sea, the South Sea, and the North Sea. They are powerful and influential deities who control the waters and weather in their respective domains.
  7. Dragon Dance and Dragon Boat Festival: Dragon dances and dragon boat races are popular traditional activities in Chinese culture, especially during festivals like the Chinese New Year and the Dragon Boat Festival. These activities are believed to bring good luck and blessings.

The library has many books about dragons in Chinese mythology for you to check out:

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

This beautifully illustrated children’s book weaves various Chinese myths and legends, including those involving dragons, into a captivating narrative.

Nian, The Chinese New Year Dragon by Virginia Loh-Hagan

This picture book is an illustrated retelling of a Chinese folktale about a dragon that threatens a village each spring, and a young girl named Mei is destined to defeat him!

The Dragon Emperor: A Chinese Folktale by Wang Ping

A children’s picture book about a jealous warrior who challenges the leadership of the dragon emperor.

The Sons of the Dragon King: A Chinese Legend by Ed Young

A picture book about the nine immortal sons of the Dragon King, each setting out to make something of themselves and finding a role that suits their individual strengths.

Long Goes to Dragon School by Helen H. Wu

It’s the first day of Dragon School, where all the younglings learn how to harness their fire-breathing skills. All the dragonlings are excited, except for Long because he can only breath out water. No matter how hard Long tries, he just cannot match his classmates.

Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao

A twelve-year old boy’s augmented reality gaming headset gets possessed by the spirit of the First Emperor of China. They are forced to travel across ancient China in order to prevent malicious spirits from destroying humankind.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, Schools, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look

Alvin is an Asian American second grader who is afraid of everything from elevators, tunnels, girls, and worst of all—SCHOOL. He is so scared that he doesn’t say a word. However, when he is at home, Alvin is a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, as well as a gentleman-in-training.

The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna Ho

A story about a Chinese Taiwanese American daughter who isn’t what their mother expects them to be. Her mother can’t come up with a good reason to be proud of her daughter, even when asked, but can speak thousands about Danny, her beloved son. However, a tragic event shatters the family’s world.

Did you like this blog post? Keep up to date with all of our posts by subscribing to the Library’s newsletters!

Keep your reading list updated with our book lists. Our staff love to read and they’ll give you the scoop on new tv-series inspired titles, hobbies, educational resources, pop culture, current events, and more!

Looking for more great titles? Get personalized recommendations from our librarians with this simple form.