|Breakfast with the dragons.|
|Dragon well (longjin) tea in Hangzhou.|
The Chinese dragon is not like the dragons of Western mythology. They are auspicious, strong, and generally don't have wings. They are composites of nine animals, in variations with the head of an ox, horse or camel (works for me); the body of a snake with fish scales, tiger feet and eagle claws, horns of a deer, eyes of a rabbit, belly of a frog, mouse whiskers. If there are wings, they are the wings of a bat, and just a pair near the front legs. The status of the dragon--whether he is for commoners or the emperor-- is indicated by how many claws he has. He often is depicted with a pearl in his mouth or just within reach. The pearl is a symbol of good luck and prosperity. It is especially good to have nine dragons flying around. Speaking of the fish scales, he is supposed to have 117: 81 yang and 36 yin. Even though this is the year of the water dragon, they are generally associated with water anyway and will fly from the sea to the clouds and back. On a feng shui tour in Hong Kong once, I was shown how the surrounding hills are OBVIOUSLY nine dragons. And more than a few buildings there feature gaps so the dragon can fly through without obstruction. So they say.
|Dragon Gate Apartments.|
|Nine dragon spirit screen at Tai Chang Temple, Wudangshan|
|Going for the pearl!|
|Dragon at Po Lin in Hong Kong.|