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Nine Sons of Chinese Dragon

The Chinese dragon is a crucial part of Chinese culture. Legend has it the dragon has nine sons, with the nine sons of the Chinese dragon being different from each other both in appearance and character.

Qiuniu (囚牛) Qiuniu is the eldest among the nine sons of Chinese dragon. He is the gentlest and is very interested in and talented at music. According to the legend, Qiuniu has a dragon head and a snake body with excellent ears that can recognise most sounds. Traditionally, Chinese people like to carve the figure of Qiuniu on the head of Chinese fiddles, and also many ethnic minority musical instruments.

Yazi (睚眥)
Yazi is the second eldest among the nine sons of Chinese dragon, and has the head of a dragon but the body of a jackal. He is very fierce and bellicose as well as being the god of war in ancient China. For this reason, ancient people often carved the figure of Yazi on their weapons as emperors believed that Yazi could wipe out all evil spirits.

Chaofeng (嘲風)
Chaofeng is the third of the nine sons of the Chinese dragon. Although resembling more of a beast type creature, Chaofeng likes adventure and looking into the distance from a high place. The legend of the Chinese dragon says Chaofeng has the power to cause earthquakes, tsunamis as well as many other disasters, but itself is a symbol of auspiciousness. On the cornices of Chinese palaces we can always see Chaofeng, showing stateliness and blessing for good fortune.

Pulao (蒲牢)
The fourth of the nine sons of the Chinese dragon is named Pulao, whose body is extremely flexible. Pulao likes to roar and has an extremely loud voice. In China, almost every large bell is decorated with the figure of Pulao, meaning the sound of the bell is loud and resounds over long distances.

Suanni (狻猊)
Suanni is the fifth among the nine sons of the Chinese dragon and has a lion-like appearance and looks fierce and tough. However, he prefers sitting in quietness and enjoying fireworks. Therefore, the figure of Suanni is often decorated on censers in temples.

Bixi (贔屭)
Bixi is the sixth among the nine sons of the Chinese dragon. Resembling a huge turtle, he has unusual strength and can carry heavy things. Many Bixi figures are placed under gravestones.

Bi'an (狴犴)
Bi'an is the seventh of the nine sons of the Chinese dragon and looks like a tiger. He is an excellent debater, with a great sense of justice. People always decorate the door of prisons with Bi'an in order to show the sense of justice and deterrent force.

Fuxi (伏羲)

The eighth one of the nine sons of the Chinese dragon is Fuxi, which has a lion head and a dragon body. He is a grace one that keens on literature and calligraphy. The figure of Fuxi is always carved on the sides of stele, surrounding gravestones.

Chiwen (螭吻)
Chiwen is the youngest among the nine sons of the Chinese dragon and has a dragon head and a fish body. Legend has it that it was the god of rain and could therefore put out fire. On most Chinese palace roof ridges a pair of Chiwen decorations can often be seen, in the hope of preventing fire.

In traditional Chinese culture, the number "nine" is a symbolic number suggesting a large amount and is held in high regard. Therefore, there is another version of the legend of the Chinese dragon that says the nine sons of Chinese dragon are Bixi, Chiwen, Pulao, Bi'an, Taotie (饕餮), Gongfu, Yazi, Suanni, and Jiaotu (椒圖). Also, other legendary creatures are also regarded as the sons of dragons such as Chi, Qilin, Chaotianhou and Pixiu.