Unlike their counterparts in Western folklore, most Chinese dragons were benevolent creatures believed to have divine origins, despite their fearsome appearance. The Chinese depicted the dragon as a snake-like, reptilian creature throughout history, with physical characteristics of other animals including tiger paws, deer antlers and eagle talons. Chinese myth maintains that after humanity’s creation, dragons lived alongside mankind, providing protection and guidance. China’s first imperial dynasty was said to have dragon blood coursing through their veins, leading to the Chinese people referring to themselves as “descendants of the dragon.”
As part of our studies into the Shang Dynasty we have been learning all about the Chinese dragon and have produced some beautiful illustrated pieces of work.