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Research Motives

Descendants of Dragon

  “There was a dragon in the far east, his name was called China” ... this popular song intrigued our curiosity about the relation between the dragon and China. The image of “dragon” is a mythical spirit beast created by the Chinese. In the legends, Yellow Emperor was transformed from the dragon. Most Chinese emperors of past dynasties also declared themselves to be the reincarnation of dragon. The image of dragon is frequently seen in the civilians’ belief and daily life. Dragon is also the totem of Chinese nation, such as in the Qing dynasty where the yellow-dragon flag was used as the national flag. So the Chinese nation considers themselves the descendants of dragon.

The Symbol of Authority and Class

 Opening the history textbooks, we find that the ancient Chinese emperors always regarded the dragon as a symbol of the supreme ruler, having created a noble and sacred image and using it to consolidate the emperor’s authoritarian dominant position. Like in the Yuan Dynasty, it was stipulated that the two-horn five-claw dragon image was exclusive to the emperor and the civilians could only use three-claw and four-claw dragon ornamentations. And in the Ming dynasty, the civilians were prohibited to use the dragon ornamentations. Do you find anything? The things used by the Chinese emperors were also often named after dragon, for example, the emperor’ clothes was called dragon robe and emperor’s chair was called dragon seat. What if others wanted to use the dragon totem? The only way was to rename the dragon totem as boa (meaning snake dragon for distinction). And the classes were differentiated by the number of dragon claws where the highest-class five-claw dragon was the totem used by emperor; and other royal family members or temple deities changed to use the four-claw or three-claw dragons (boa).

Responsibility and Mission

 The dragon culture spread from China across the Straight has a profound influence on the local beliefs and customs and has blended in Taiwan’s characteristic local culture and art. Understanding its historical origin and the cultural implications of components in the historic sites has become our urgent mission of cultural inheritance and protection.

 

▲Figure 1-1-1 :Dragon Robe of Emperor Taizong of China Tang Dynasty ( Source: WIKIMEDIA commons Public Domain / Author Hardouin) ▲ Figure 1-1-2 : Dragon Robe and Dragon Chair of Emperor Daoguang of the Qing Dynasty (Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers)
▲ Figure 1-1-3 : Five-claw Yellow-dragon National Flag/Qing dynasty, Beijing, 1890-1912 ( Source: WIKIMEDIA commons Public Domain / Author Sodacan ) ▲Figure1-1-4 : Five-claw Dragon Totem/Emperor-used Red-cloth Golden-dragon Robe Material in Qing Dynasty ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )

Trace of Dragons in Changhua - Meet the Dragon through Time  / Team:Dragon Seekers
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