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Dragon's Nine Sons

The dragon is one of the totems of ancient China and symbolizes good fortune in Chinese culture and folklore. It is an animal that lives only in people's imaginations, and according to legend, it has the head of a bull, the horns of a deer, the eyes of a lobster, the body of a snake, the claws of a hawk, and the tail of a lion.

The dragon has nine sons. Each of them has his own duty, and each has his own likes and dislikes. Designs of the nine sons of the dragon were often used to decorate the eaves, ridges, balustrades, and terrace bases of ancient Chinese buildings and ancient Chinese weapons and vessels.

What are the names of the nine sons of the dragon? The answers differ according to different records, and each record gives each of them a different character and different habit. The question is, Did the ancient Chinese people give the nine sons of the dragon different characters according to their different decorative uses or give them different decorative uses according to their different characters? No one knows, but it is interesting to compare their different names and characters with their different decorative functions.

Qiu Niu

Qiu Niu loves music, he likes to crouch on the head of stringed instruments and listens to music. So his figure became a common decoration on the bridge of stringed musical instruments.
Qiu Niu - Click to Zoom in
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Ya Zi

Ya Zi is bad-tempered, fractious, and inclined to fight, so he often appears on ancient weapons. He can be seen on sword-hilts, knife hilts and battle axe. It is said that his figure can add power to these weapons.
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Chao Feng

Chao Feng is fearless ,loves to take risks and watch from high places, so he decorates the corners of palace roofs in ancient China.

Pu Lao

Pulao is fond of roaring and his figure is put on bell handles.. He lives near the sea, though he is one son of the dragon, but he fears to meet the big whale. When the whale attacts, he fears to roar loudly.

San Mi

His figure is like lion. Suanmi is fond of smoke and fire; his likeness can be seen on the legs of incense-burners. He is also used to guard beside the main door.

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Ba Xia

His figure is like tortoise, Baxia has great strength and likes to carrying heavy things. BaXia loves words , so he is used to carry stone tablets with inscriptions.In China, many famous steles are carried by Baxia.

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Bi An

The figure of Bi An is like tiger. He is wise and can tell who is good or evil, so his figure became decorations of prision or court.

Fu Xi

Fuxi loves literature, his figures are carved on sides of stone tablets with inscriptions.
r loudly.

Chi Wen

Chi Wen likes swallowing things. The four beasts that swallow the ridges of the hall in the picture are all Chi Wen, so he is also called the Ridge-Swallowing Beast. He is said to be in charge of rainfall, so the design has the purpose of safeguarding palaces from fire.

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Jiaotu is as tight-lipped as a mussel or a snail. His image is carved on doors.

Gong Fu

Gong Fu likes water, so he is always carved on the holes of bridge.
in Forbidden City
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Dragon Tortoise
This is Dragon Tortoise, his head is dragon, but body is tortoise.
in Forbidden City
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