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Typical modern illustration of a Loong in modern traditional style.


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This mythical and mystic creature is often referred to as Chinese Dragon and while it has most surely originated in Chinese culture and is considered a symbol for Chinese culture, it is too limited to assign it to China as a nation, as it is an important part of the tradition of many other Asian nations. For example it is still the national symbol of Bhutan and Vietnam. A more neutral name for the Chinese Dragon is Loong 龙, based on the Chinese name, but as this is a term little known outside of Asia, the Stahlhart model calls it a Lucky Dragon, which summarizes its meaning rather than its origin.
While the Loong bears a certain resemblance to reptiles and hence to Dragons from European tradition, it is a totally different creature altogether. Dragons in the European tradition are usually treacherous and malevolent creatures with heavy bodies, which need bat-like wings to fly and breathe fire.

Bronze Loong toy from classic China (Han dynasty?)

The earliest depiction considered to be a Loong dates back to sometime between 4700 and 2920 BCE, a C-shaped jade ring, with a head and mane. More detailed depictions pretty much resembling the common ones that have emerged since then go back as early as the first Chinese dynasties, around 1600 BC.
At least since the Han dynasty (206 BCE to 220 CE), the Chinese

Loong-shaped jade pendant from the pre-Chinese Longshan culture

Dragon was a symbol for the Emperor of China, and therefore the Chinese state. The throne of the Emperor was referred to as the Dragon Throne and only the Emperor was allowed to wear clothing with depictions of a specific type of yellow dragon. The Dragon totem, which is a free-standing column with ornaments that identify it as a Chinese dragon, became a symbol of the power of the state and is still commonly used as such in modern China.
Dragon Totem Pole as a symol for the Chinese state, here in front of the Tian An Men, a symbol for the modern Chinese state.

In the Chinese Zodiac, the Dragon is the fifth animal. People born in the year of the dragon are considered to be the most vital and powerful, ambitious and good at dominating others. They are courageous and intelligent, not afraid to face challenges or taking risks to achieve their goals.
One of the most inspiring adaptations of the Loong in Western literature are the Luckdragons in Michael Ende's classic children's novel "The never-ending story", who are gentle and intelligent creatures that largely resemble the classic depiction of Loongs. In the story the luckdragon Fuchur (Falkor in the English translation) is one of the main protagonists and is known to have luck himself but also vying luck to those who are with him.

Size: can be as long as a river
Weight: as light as a cloud
Lifespan: immortal

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