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The ancient Chinese Emperor Yao was said to be the son of a dragon, and many rulers of that country were metaphorically referred to as dragon-faced." In both Chinese and Japanese mythology, the dragon is closely associated with the watery realm, and in artwork is often surrounded by water or clouds.

In myth, there are four dragon kings who rule over the four seas (which in the old Chinese conception limited the habitable earth).

There is an iconographic convention in which the common dragon has only four claws.

The five-clawed dragon, in contrast, is reserved for the Chinese imperial family, while the colonial type (such as the Japanese dragon) has only three claws.

The breath of the Dragon changes into clouds from which come either rain or fire.

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The Dragon (East) and Phoenix (South) both represent Yang energy, but they are often depicted as enemies, for the Dragon represents the element wood, while the Phoenix signifies the element fire.By the 9th century AD, the Chinese had incorporated the dragon into Buddhist thought and iconography as a protector of the various Buddha and the Buddhist law.These traditions were adopted by the Japanese (Buddhism did not arrive in Japan until the mid-6th century AD).In contrast to Western mythology, Asian dragons are rarely depicted as malevolent.Although fearsome and powerful, dragons are equally considered just, benevolent, and the bringers of wealth and good fortune.

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