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NINE TYPES

There are a total of nine types of classical Chinese dragons.

Chinese scholars categorized the dragons according to their cosmic tasks:

1. The Celestial Dragon [t'ien-Lung/literally "heaven dragon"] is the ruler of the dragons, in charge of protecting the heavens and homes of the deities.

2. The Spiritual dragon [shen-lung/literally "spirit dragon"] controls the weather and had to be appeased, or weather conditions would turn disastrous. A special rank of these dragons is known as Imperial Dragons that have five toes*. The only place they could be depicted on was imperial insignia.

3. The Earth dragon [ti-lung] controls rivers. It spends springtime in heaven and autumn in the sea.

4. The Underworld dragon [fu-ts'ang lung] is the guardian of precious metals and jewels buried in the earth. Volcanoes are said to be created when they burst out of the ground to report to heaven.

Other distinct species include:

5. The Horned Dragon. Considered to be the mightiest.

6. The Winged Dragon. The only dragon with wings. Believed to be a powerful servant of Huang Di, the yellow emperor, who was later immortalized as a dragon. One legend states that Yinglong helped a man named Yu stop the Yellow River from flooding by digging long channels with his tail .

7. The Coiling Dragon. Dwells in the ocean.

8. The Yellow Dragon. A hornless dragon known for its scholarly knowledge. Emerged from the River Luo to show Fuxi the elements of writing.

9. The Dragon King. Really four dragons that were respected and honoured as these were the dragons people approached when there was no rain. Each of these rules over one of the four seas, those of the east, south, west, and north.


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