The Nine Dragons

Probably the most famous Chinese painting of Dragons is that by Chen Rong (1200 – 1266) of the Song Dynasty who was an official, poet, and Taoist who specialised in painting the Dragon, a symbol both of the emperor and of the mysterious all-pervading force of the Tao. Chen Rong’s paintings show these fabulous creatures emerging from amid rocks and clouds. His hand scroll entitled ‘The Nine Dragons’ has become widely recognised as THE reference Chinese Dragon work. Should you wish to see it, the piece is in the possession of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Nine Dragons - detail - Chen Rong 1244
The Nine Dragons – detail – Chen Rong 1244

The Legend of the Nine Dragons

The mainland overlooking Hong Kong is called Kowloon, which literally means Nine Dragons. Legend states the mainland was named this by the Chinese Emperor, Bing who fled there after the Song Dynasty. Originally, he named it after the eight hills predominantly located on the land. His servant supposedly observed that the Emperor should also be counted among the regal figures. Hence, the jiǔ lóng (or Nine Dragons) nomenclature was born.

The Nine Dragons (jiǔ lóng)

  1. P’u-lao: Alerts one to danger, and serves as a protector. Often engraved on bells, sacred singing bowls, and gongs
  2. Ch’iu-niu: Creator of Yang energy through the use of ancient dragon music
  3. Pi-his: Provider of knowledge, luck and upholds the virtue of finer education
  4. Pa-hsia: Provider of strength and support when called upon during times of need
  5. Chao-feng: Guardian of the holy places, sacred lands, and holy temples
  6. Chih wen: Symbolizes the power of water over fire
  7. Suan-ni: Mighty protector and emblem against theft, loss or betrayal of any kind
  8. Yai-tzu: Protector and guardian against any physical harm
  9. Pi-kau: Defends again litigation, verbal disputes, or false accusations.

I hope you have found this Dragon sequence useful. If there are other Dragon symbols that you are aware of, please get in touch.

Please note: The Calligraphy for Dragon, along with the other Zodiac Animals is available on the link here.

Happy Chinese Dragon Painting


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