Chinese dragon and phoenix
Deeply rooted in Chinese culture, dragon and phoenix were regarded as the most scared animals and used to be emblems of emperor and empress. The Chinese dragon is traditionally the embodiment of the concept of yang (male), while phoenix was paired (yin, female) with dragon. They were used as decorative signs on the buildings, clothing and other daily uses articles of imperial palace to highly show off that the emperor as real dragon and son of heaven. Even the bed he sleep on was called "dragon bed", while throne be the "dragon seat", other Chinese vocabularies like "phoenix carriage" and so on were common to show their heaven-sent status.
Lung or Chinese Dragon is unlike the evil dragon in the west; it was a gracious creature that able to do almost everything, flying into the sky and live in the deep ocean or lake. For ancient Chinese people, Lung is an ideal animal that was worshiped as the ruler of river, lake and sea, bringing rain and water to the earth. He is friendly and wise and honored in the temple being built. Lung gradually adopted the meaning of power and boldness, intelligent and ambitious, heroism and nobility, and then referred to the authority and power of imperial house.
Chinese dragons are frequently connected with number 9, as it is a number that of emperor, when combined with number 5, signified the supreme statue of the emperor. The "nine dragon wall" in Forbidden City, displaying in brilliant colors, each playing with a pearl, was carved vividly.
Chinese Dragon Dance was originated in Han Dynasty, as important as Lion Dance in Chinese culture. The Dragon Dance signifies the end of year and the coming of New Year, always performing on big occasions, Chinese New Year celebrations and important opening ceremony. It requires a group of people coordinate their movements with each other when dancing; any mistake would disturb the entertainment. Each team member must be able to leap, crouch and change the direction and pace of movements, requiring discipline, stamina and a substantial amount of practice.
Along with Chinese calendar, there are 12 different animals representing a cycle of 12 years, each for one year. Long is among these animals, which the year of it called "year of dragon". It is said that the one who born on year of dragon has some personal traits of dragon; he would be confidence and set high standards for himself, and will not listen to others. So dragon years are popular to have babies. In Chinese horoscopes there are specific about love partnership with other animal signs with the one born in Dragon year. For example, dragon and dragon, it is said that they can accomplish anything together; and a dragon & rooster make a good couple, but not to be egotistic; dragon & pig can keep caring and deeply affectionate relationship. Some Chinese people believe in this destiny but efforts would also need to maintain long loving relationship.
Chinese dragon was firstly adopted as the imaginary animal in prehistoric tribe, and then discovered as decoration on the bronze vessels of Shang Dynasty (over 3,000 years ago). Earliest legends described it an animal with fish scales and long beard. With years by, people acquiring sneaker's neck, tiger's paw, eagle's claw and other and other distinctive features of other animals until it became what we see today.
The Chinese phoenix, also called "Feng Huang", is the head of all birds. Feng is male and Huang female, while paired with dragon it is female. Feng Huang has rare appearance, with colorful plumage. Many legends tell that it has a body of pheasant, while feathers like that of peacocks, with wings of roc.
Chinese phoenix is also an immortal bird whose rare appearances signify the peace and prosperity, especially a new ruler ascent to the throne. It never old or dies, belongs to the fire in Five Elements. It is said that phoenix nirvana and rebirth out of ash, symbolize the constant striving spirit.
Images of ancient birds have appeared in China for 7,000 years, with the earliest historic piece with phoenix was a silk painting discovered in a tomb of the warring states period.
Down the ages, Chinese "long" and dragon are the traditional totems embedded with people's blessing and hope and left deep imprint in Chinese civilization. Some are even combined the dragon and phoenix together to hope the harmony and happiness of marriage.
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