Chinese dragon tattoos can be exceptionally difficult to tell apart from other dragons from the eastern part of the world. One way that is commonly recognized by China, Korea and Japan, is the number of toes on the dragon paw. Chinese dragons have five toes. The meaning and symbolism behind the Chinese dragon tattoos can be very important. The Chinese recognize four creatures of divinity and the dragon rates in the number one position.
Interestingly the Chinese dragon is made from bodily features of nine different other creatures and there are nine different types of dragons. The parts are important to the designs of Chinese dragon tattoos. The head is that of a camel, eyes of a rabbit (although some say the eyes of the devil), scales of the carp (many descriptions are explicit and report that there are exactly 117 scales), neck of an iguana or snake, paws of the tiger, claws of the eagle, horns of a stag and the belly of a clam. There is some scholarly discussion about the number of toes. Chinese dragons are said to commonly have five toes. Others Chinese believe that traditionally the five toe dragons were Imperial dragons only and a symbol of the emperor. Other lesser Chinese dragons have four toes. What is certain is that they never have less than four. However four toes could be confused with a Korean dragon due to the eastern traditional beliefs on the wanderings of a dragon.
Here are the nine types of Chinese dragons and what they represent. Keep in mind whether or not you want to convey meaning with through the Chinese dragon tattoos as you read through this list.
Winged dragon tattoos – Historically, Chinese dragons did not have wings but nonetheless had the ability to fly. This is the only official Chinese dragon tattoo that includes wings. If you want wings, this is your only choice within the traditional Chinese dragon tattoos.
Celestial – The Celestial Dragon is the head dragon in heaven. He is in charge of protecting the homes of all the other residents.
Spiritual – This dragon’s job is to control the wind and rain. Of course some sort of appeasement measures by humans is necessary to change the weather.
Hidden Treasures – Also known as the “underworld dragon”; not because he belongs to the underworld but because he is the guardian of precious metals and gems within the earth. He is also associated with volcanoes and their eruptions; the volcano erupts when he emerges. How’s that for a design idea to put in your file of Chinese dragon tattoos. This design would lend itself perfectly to some high end back skin.
Coiling – The coiling dragon lives in lakes and rivers. Water lovers may like this design and it would go well on arms or legs used for swimming.
Dragon King – This dragon is traditionally thought to be a group of four who protect the oceans in all four directions of the earth.
Homeless – Moving from the mountains to the sea and marshes always on the go; he’s homeless.
Yellow – History on the yellow dragon is a little sketchy, but it is generally believed he left his home in the waters to commune with humans and teach them how to use written language.
Horned Dragon – This dragon features a set of deer horns and is believed to the most powerful of the nine. He also produces rain.
Additionally, if a person couples any of their Chinese dragon tattoos with a phoenix, they are now symbolizing marriage, the phoenix being the female and the dragon being the male. How awesome is that?
More Chinese Dragon Tattoo Pictures