Given the span of history and span of geography that the Eastern Dragon traverses, it is perhaps unfair to attempt to summarize all variations under a particular heading. Throughout history, the shape and temperament of Eastern Dragons changed, leaving many species of Eastern Dragons as well.

For a brief generalization, the Eastern Dragon inherited today has the body of a snake, belly of a frog, scales of a carp, head of a camel, horns of a giant stag, the eyes of a hare, ears like a bull, a neck like an iguana, paws like a tigers, and claws like an eagle. [1] Eastern dragons are described with an angelic authority and beauty. They possess incredible wisdom. [1]

The Eastern Dragon in the Zodiac

In the Chinese Zodiac, the year of the dragon is considered a very auspicious year, and those that are born in that calendar year are blessed with a long life full of health. [1] This is because throughout history, the Chinese Lung (dragon) has been considered an important symbol of greatness, power, benevolence, and gifts. [1]

In Taoism, the Taoist Chuang Tzu (399-295 BC) taught of the mysterious powers of the dragon. The teaching explored and reflected the resolution of conflict and balance of opposites, and so through Taoist thought and expression, the Eastern Dragon became a symbol of unity. [1]

Eastern Dragons as Symbols of Authority

The royal families of Japan trace their ancestry back over a hundred generations to Princess Fruitful Jewel, also known as Rich Jewel, [1] or Toyo-tama. She was a daughter of the Dragon King that married a mortal man and bore him a son before returning to the Palace in the Sea.

The Chinese Lung is a divine, generative creature and will overcome any obstacle for success. Later, the Chinese Emperor adopted the Lung as a symbol of imperial law and the Emperor himself, imbuing the symbol with new authority and more power than before. [1] In China, the phrase 'Lung Tik Chuan Ren' means 'Descendants of the Dragon,' and sometimes is used to describe the people of China and at other times particular lineages. [1]

The Powers of the Eastern Dragons

Dragons of the East have benevolent properties and often imbued with particularly potent powers, especially power over the rains and other natural forces.

Temples built for Eastern Dragons or with Eastern Dragons as guardians are placed near the sea or rivers, because in many places across the East, dragons inhabit and rule the waters of the earth. Eastern Dragons can create clouds full of fertilizing rains for the earth, which associates them with storms, particularly thunder and lightning, and also makes the Eastern Dragon a symbol of the unity of the two waters: the waters of the earth (lakes, rivers, the sea, etc.) and the waters of heaven (the rains). [1]

Further Reading

Because of the complexities of the Eastern dragons, it is broken into various species and a larger article.


  1. O'Connel and Airey 141

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