Dragons are a very significant part of Chinese mythology. They are considered to be very physically concise creatures. They each have exactly 117 scales. Of those, eighty one are positive, and thirty six are negative. In the beginning, dragons were considered to be wise, just, and benevolent. Over time, the Buddhists started introducing the concept of dragons being malevolent. They believed that dragons could destroy things by using storms, tidal waves, and floods and that, oftentimes, the worst of these floods were because a dragon had been upset.
A lot of times the pictures seen of oriental dragons will show a flaming pearl either in their claws or under their chin. This pearl represents immortality, prosperity, power, spiritual energy, wisdom, the moon, or thunder. Often the artist will depict dragons fighting each other over the pearl.
Dragons in China are sometimes shown with wings like a bat that grow out of their front limbs, but most of them usually don’t have wings because the ability for them to fly is considered magic.
Over time, the dragon seems to have gained an almost endless range of powers that are supernatural. It can be the size of the whole universe or disguise itself in the form of a silkworm. They can hide on water or fly through the clouds. A dragon can change their color to blend in, turn into water, or form clouds as well.
In a lot of other countries, dragons are said to have attributes of the eleven zodiac creatures. Some of these features include the teeth and claws of the tiger, a snake like body, horns and face of the ox, a pig’s snout, dog’s ears, rat’s whiskers, goat’s goatee, and legs like a horse.
The beliefs of some say it is bad luck to show a dragon in art that is facing down because the dragon cannot fly into the sky from that position and so it is disrespectful. When dragons are depicted in tattoos, they are seen as symbols of power and strength. A lot of times criminal organizations make their members earn a dragon tattoo by being strong and fierce.