China Underground > Essential guide to China > How did the Dragon and the Tiger Become Such Iconic Symbols in Chinese Culture?

How did the Dragon and the Tiger Become Such Iconic Symbols in Chinese Culture?

Dragon and tiger symbols are found everywhere throughout Chinese culture, with the two beasts having a historic relevance to the people in the country. The tiger embodies the spirit of the Chinese people and personifies their desire for success. The dragon is a legendary creature and symbolizes luck and good fortune. In addition to making regular appearances at Chinese festivals, the dragon and tiger also represent China in popular culture.

The Tiger is Revered by the Chinese

In China, the tiger is a sacred animal that is revered across the land. It is the king of all creatures and has numerous exemplary features that Chinese people want to express themselves. These include prowess and ferocity, and a drive to get things done. It also represents beauty and harmony, though, which is seen through the common goal sharing of many societies within the country.

Some people in China worship tiger deities. In the southern regions, for instance, women bow down to the White Tiger, which is the ruler of the west on the compass. The second moon of the lunar calendar is said to be the birthday of this mythical being.

Mythical Dragon is a Staple of Chinese Folklore

The dragon has existed in Chinese folklore since time immemorial, and it is often referred to as lung or loong. Their symbols were traditionally used by the Emperor of China in the Imperial era to signify his power and strength. Over time, the iconic snake-like Chinese dragon with four legs became synonymous with celebrations in the country and can almost always be seen during events like Lunar New Year and the Zhonghe Festival.

Dragons have made countless appearances in the folklore of the country, and they are also used in certain sayings and proverbs.

The Symbols are Common in Chinese Popular Culture

The dragon and tiger have become so prevalent in Chinese culture, that they are instantly recognisable as symbols from the country to people from other cultures. In the entertainment industry, Chinese themes are often marketed to the rest of the world using these iconic beasts. For instance, there’s Precious Dragon by Liz Williams, which can be found at China Underground. There’s also the movie, Young Tiger, which was written about at China Underground as well.

One of the most notable Chinese games to spread around the world is Mahjong, a tile game in which players take turns to discard tiles until they manage to form melds, which are required to win. It’s like the western card game, rummy. There’s also the digital form of Mahjong Solitaire, which rose to popularity on computers. The tiles for these games can vary and aren’t always the same. However, dragons and tigers are some of the most common tile designs.

Another well-known version of the Chinese dragon is Fin Fang Foom from Marvel comics. He’s a recurring villain that usually comes up against Iron Man and is said to work for The Mandarin. In the gambling industry, there are countless titles with Chinese themes, perhaps due to the popularity of this form of entertainment among people from the country. Live Dragon Tiger at live casino Betway is a card offering that gives players a true sense of Chinese culture with this classic imagery. It’s like baccarat in that two cards are dealt to two sides of the table, but these locations are marked with a dragon symbol and a tiger symbol.

Yin and Yang Energy

The tiger and the dragon are regularly found alongside one another and were the original yin and yang symbols. Nowadays, the yin and yang sign is most often shown as a circle with interlocking black and white segments. There’s even a village shaped like it, seen here in China Underground. This is a representation of the forces that make up the universe and need to be in balance. They are interrelated, and the powers complement each other. The yin and yang have different qualities, and these are embodied by the dragon and the tiger.

According to the Dragon Shop, the dragon makes up the yang side, and has active qualities such as adventurousness, extroversion, and ambition. The tiger represents yin, which has more passive features. It stands for power and resilience but is also relaxed and patient. It is said that yin and yang can’t exist without each other and they are often compared to light and shadow or winter and summer. The two sides are also divided into having masculine and feminine traits, with yin being female and yang male.

China has various lucky emblems associated with its rich history and culture, with some others listed at eChinacities. Of all these, the dragon and the tiger are arguably the most enduring. The unique depictions of these creatures are instantly recognisable to people from other cultures as well, and they have helped spread Chinese themes around the world.

Subscribe to China Underground and get the free magazine 'Planet China'

* indicates required

View previous campaigns.

By clicking Sign Up, you agree to our terms and conditions.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Previous

Auspicious and Lucky Foods for Chinese New Year 

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.