Basic Information

Alterative Spellings: Pu Lao, Pu-lao, P'u-lao
Type/Species: Long
Origin: Taoist Mythology, Chinese Mythology

About Pulao

Pulao was one of the Nine Sons of the Dragon King. [3] He made such a racket with his booming voice that the people who lived near him complained that all he did was make monstrous noises all day. [4] Alternatively, people claimed that he cried all day long. [2] Upon hearing this report, the Dragon King designated Pulao to watch over all the bells in China to ensure their sound remained loud and true. [5]

Pulao loved the oceans, [3] and he remained alongside the sea at all times. He had great fear of his archenemies, whales, and whenever one would attack Pulao, his roar would echo across the water. [1] Some legends claim that Pulao had a roar that shook the earth and heavens, especially when confronted by a whale. [1]

To this day, Pulao adorns the handles of bells. [2] Due to this connection, Pulao is sometimes conflated with Qiuniu. [1]

Pulao in Design and Ornament

According to Ban Gu's History of the Han, to commemorate the conflict, tradionally Pulao adorns bells, but the striker for the bell depicts a whale. [1]

Some bells feature a design with two separate images of Pulao, while others portray Pulao much like a conjoined twin. [6] One exquisite example of this dragon can be found in the Big Bell Temple in Beijing, where a bronze bell features twenty-two dragons. [7]

Physical Description

Pu Lao was a traditional long dragon.

Quick Facts

  • Pulao adorns bells to ensure their sound remains strong and true. [5]
  • Pulao loved the sea and the oceans. [3]
  • The archenemy of Pulao was the whale. [1]

Related Articles


  1. Bates 51
  2. De Visser 101
  3. National Geographic [Essential] 342
  4. Young 7
  5. Young 8
  6. Bates Plate 20
  7. Bates Plate 21

For more information on footnotes and references, please see the bibliography.