Dragon Animals

2012 Year of the Dragon

The dragon is one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. It is the only mythical creature amongst the zodiac and it is formed from 9 different animal parts. A dragon year is symbolic of harmony and progress and it occurs every 12th year. Each year of the dragon is also associated with one elemental force. This year, 2012 is a dragon year and it’s elemental force is water. The water element attached a dragon year is said to signify a time of harmony and progress through change.

Flag of the Qing Dynasty 1890–1912

The Animals

On the Dragons head there are large horns that are like the antlers of a deer stag. The head looks like a camel or horse with the ears of a cow and the red eyes of white rabbits. The bright red eyes were also described by scholars as looking like demon eyes! On the top of the head, in the middle of the forehead, there is a lump called a chimu. The chimu is very important as it is what allows the dragon to fly. The head is attached to a long thin body with a thin bendy neck that is like the body of a snake. The underneath of the dragon has a soft rippled belly like the grooves on a clam. All over the body there are large fish scales like those from a carp. The dragon’s feet have the claws of an eagle and the paws of a tiger.


These variations were recorded by the scholar Wang Fu in his collection of myths written in the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) Click here to read the original text.