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Demystifying China's ancient dragons

2014-11-14 16:35:51

(World of Chinese)


A lunchbox from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) with flying dragons. Photos Provided to China Daily

Flying dragon 飞龙(fei long)

While many Chinese dragons can fly, feilong are said to actually have wings and spend their time soaring through the clouds. A historic description claims that feilong are said to have the head of a dragon, the tail of a phoenix and multicolored scales. These flying dragons are an ancient species, earning an entry in the first Chinese dictionary (Explaining and Analyzing Characters) A sighting of feilong was often used to signify a great or accomplished person, and very spiritual people were often deemed worthy enough to ride on their backs. An association with Daoism has persisted throughout history, as the immortal feilong had achieved the fabled Daoist objective, immortality. In modern times, feilong have lent their name to a genus of pterosaurs, flying reptiles from the late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous Period.

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