The Year of the Dragon

Pictured above : Kakiemon Kiln
Mythical Dragon Hexagonal Bowl, 1690 – 1710. Porcelain. 18 x 18 x 9 cm

January 23rd saw the commencement of the Year of the Dragon.  The dragon is the only mythical animal in the Oriental Zodiac and is regarded as the most powerful and auspicious. Legends abound in both Eastern and Western mythology about the dragon, guardian of the skies and the seas and protector of Buddhist truth represented by the flaming pearl often seen in the animal’s talons.

Many of you will be familiar with the intrigue regarding the number of the dragon’s claws – three or five. One explanation of this which takes into account the importance of the animal in Asian cultures concerns how far the dragon wanders from his birthplace: Chinese or Korean imperial dragons have five toes on each foot; Indonesian dragons have four and Japanese dragons have three. To explain this phenomenon, Chinese legend states that although the dragon originated in China, the further away from China a dragon went the fewer toes it had, and dragons only exist in China, Korea, Indonesia, and Japan because if they travelled further they would have no toes to continue. Japanese legend has an opposing story, namely that dragons originated in Japan, and the further they travelled the more toes they grew and as a result, if they went too far they would have too many toes to continue to walk properly. 

The 2012 dragon is complemented by the element of water which is said to temper this  year’s fiery energy. For one view of 2012’s horoscope and to see how the Dragon Year fits with your personal animal go to: