Chinese Dragon Types

The ancient Chinese emperors called themselves the "Real Dragon Emperor", but what kind of dragons are they? How many kinds of dragons are there in China? Let's read this article to find the answer.

1. Blue Dragon (青龙)

It is one of the four divine beasts in ancient Chinese legend, also known as the "Four Spirits of Heaven", which originated from the worship of the stars by the ancient people. Actually, the blue dragon is officially the head of the four spirits. In the Taoist theory, it is the ancestor of all dragons.

China blue dragon

Blue dragon is considered to be able to control the wind, fire, thunder and lightning of the Three Realms/worlds, and has extremely strong combat power. In

the Ming Dynasty, the four top masters of the imperial secret guards Jinyiwei were named: Blue Loong, White Tiger, Vermillion Bird and Black Tortoise.

2. Ying Loong (应龙)

Ying Loong is a kind of winged dragon in ancient Chinese myths and legends. According to the "Book of Mountains and Seas: The Great Wilderness of the North", Ying Loong once helped the Yellow Emperor to fight against Chiyou, another tribe leader. In the end, Chiyou was defeated and killed.

We can often find the image of Ying Loong appearing on the jade carvings of the Warring States Period, as well as the stone carvings, silk paintings and lacquerware of the Han Dynasty.

3. Hui (虺)

This character is seldom used in modern Chinese language. In the ancient time, it referred to the venomous viper, which was also used on the dragons in the stages of infancy and early childhood.

Hui dragon

4. Qiu (虬)

Qiu Loong is a younger dragon with or without horns in the ancient myths.

Qiu Dragon

5. Chi (螭)

Chi is one of the nine sons of the dragon in ancient Chinese myths. It belongs to a kind of dragon without horns. Its image is often used as decoration on ancient Chinese buildings, utensils and handicrafts. It is said that it has a big mouth with a huge belly holding a lot of water.

Chi dragon

6. Jiao (蛟)

Jiao is a mythical beast with no horn in ancient times. It is one of water beasts with dragon blood (and fish or snakes). They are still on the way to evolve towards real dragon, which are capable of controlling the cloud, rain and flood in a small area. As long as they survive the Heavenly tests during the 1000-year period, they will turn into real dragons with more powers.

Jiao Dragon

7. Horn Loong (角龙)

After turning into a real dragon from Jiao, it will take 500 years more to evolve into a horn dragon. Then with another 500 years, it will become a Ying Loong.

8. Fire Loong (火龙)

The fire dragon is recorded in the book "Draft of Qing History": "A dragon in Fushan flew into a folk building, and the smoke rose in an instant, and the building was completely burned".

Fire Dragon

9. Pan Loong (蟠龙)

In Chinese folklore, Pan Loong are those dragons that reside on the ground and do not ascend to the sky. This type of dragon usually coils around somewhere. In ancient buildings, the dragons looped on the pillars, the decorative beams, and the ceilings are usually called Pan Long.

Pan dragon

10. Yun Loong (云龙)

Yun Loong refers to those flying dragons enshrouded in the clouds.

11. Wang Loong (望龙)

Wang Loong refers to those dragons showing one side of their heads.

12. Xing Loong (行龙)

In Chinese myths, the carp can evolve into Jiao, Jiao can turn into a dragon, and when the dragon reaches a certain level, it will become a Xing Loong.

13. Yu Hua Loong (鱼化龙)

This is an imaginary creature with half dragon (head) and half fish (body). In the ancient time, Fish-transforming-dragon was an auspicious symbol, a kind of metaphor for passing the imperial examination. This was what many adult men dreamed of during their whole lives.

Yu Hua Loong

14. Shen Loong (蜃龙)

Actually they are not the real dragons, but the relative of the latter, which look more like Jiao. They usually live at the river mouth or along the coastal area. According to the records of some ancient books, they were transformed from the huge clams.

15. Heavenly Loong (天龙)

Born in the Heaven, they are the nobles among all the dragons. Their only task is to protect the Heavenly Emperor. 

16. Zhu Loong (烛龙)

It is an old mythical beast in ancient China. When it opens its eyes, it is the daytime; while with its eyes closed, it is the nighttime. It is said that it has a man’s head/face with a snake’s body, all in red.

In fact, there are other types of dragons mentioned in the ancient books of China. These 16 dragons are the more common ones. Do you know any other dragons, please feel free to let us know.

Keep reading:

  • Chinese Zodiac Dragon
  • Dragon in Ancient Chinese Architecture
  • Chinese Dragon Art and Culture
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