Dragon King

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"Dragon Kings" redirects here. For other uses, see Dragon Kings (disambiguation).
Dragon King
Dragon Gods.svg
Cosmological diagram of the main Dragon Gods
Traditional Chinese 龍王
Simplified Chinese 龙王
Temple of the Dragon King of the South Sea in Sanya, Hainan.

The Dragon God (龙神 Lóngshén) also called Dragon King or Dragon Ruler (龙王 Lóngwáng) is a water and weather deity in Chinese religion, the dispenser of rain as well as the zoomorphic representation of the yang masculine power of generation.[1] He is the collective personification of the ancient concept of the lóng in Chinese culture. He can take a variety of forms, the most important ones being the cosmological Sìhǎi Lóngwáng (四海龙王 "Dragon Kings of the Four Seas")[2] who, with the addition of the Yellow Dragon (黄龙 Huánglóng) of Xuanyuan, represent the watery and chthonic forces presided over by the Five Forms of the Highest Deity (五方上帝 Wǔfāng Shàngdì), or their zoomorphic incarnation. One of his epithets is Dragon King of Wells and Springs.[3]

Besides being a water deity, the Dragon God frequently also serves as a territorial tutelary deity, similarly to Tudigong and Houtu.[4]

Yellow Dragon[edit]

Main article: Yellow Dragon

The Yellow Dragon (黄龙 Huánglóng) does not have a precise body of water of which he is the patron. However, as the zoomorphic incarnation of the Yellow Deity with Four Faces he represents the metaphysical source of the universe.

Dragon Kings of the Four Seas[edit]

Each one of the four Dragon Kings of the Four Seas (四海龙王 Sìhǎi Lóngwáng) is associated to a colour and a body of water corresponding to one of the four cardinal directions and natural boundaries of China:[1] the East Sea (corresponding to the East China Sea), the South Sea (corresponding to the South China Sea), the West Sea (Qinghai Lake), and the North Sea (Lake Baikal). They appear in the classical novels like The Investiture of the Gods and Journey to the West. Each of them has a proper name, and they share the surname Ao (敖, meaning "playing" or "proud").

Azure Dragon[edit]

Main articles: Azure Dragon and Ao Guang

The Azure Dragon or Blue-green Dragon (青龙 Qīnglóng), or Green Dragon (蒼龙 Cānglóng), is the Dragon God of the east, and of the essence of spring.[1] His proper name is Ao Guang (敖廣), and he is the patron of the East China Sea.

Red Dragon[edit]

The Red Dragon (赤龙 Chìlóng or 朱龙 Zhūlóng - lit. "Cinnabar Dragon", "Vermilion Dragon") is the Dragon God of the south and of the essence of summer.[1] He is the patron of the South China Sea and his proper name is Ao Qin (敖欽).

White Dragon[edit]

The White Dragon (白龙 Báilóng) is the Dragon God of the west and the essence of autumn.[1] His proper names are Ao Run (敖閏), Ao Jun (敖君) or Ao Ji (敖吉). He is the patron of Qinghai Lake.

Black Dragon[edit]

The Black Dragon (黑龙 Hēilóng), also called "Dark Dragon" or "Mysterious Dragon" (玄龙 Xuánlóng), is the Dragon God of the north and the essence of winter.[1] His proper names are Ao Shun (敖順) or Ao Ming (敖明), and his body of water is Lake Baikal.

Worship of the Dragon God[edit]

Worship of the Dragon God is celebrated throughout China with sacrifices and processions during the fifth and sixth moons, and especially on the date of his birthday the thirteenth day of the sixth moon.[1] A folk religious movement of associations of good-doing in modern Hebei is primarily devoted to a generic Dragon God whose icon is a tablet with his name inscribed, for which it has been named the "movement of the Dragon Tablet".[5]


The Dragon Kings of the Four Seas at the Great Temple of Mazu in Tainan
The four Dragon Gods at the Temple of Mazu in Anping, Tainan. 
Icon of the Dragon God at the Wat Chalok Chalam, a Chinese folk religious temple in Thailand

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Tom (1989), p. 55.
  2. ^ Overmyer (2009), p. 20: "[...] Dragon Kings of the Four Seas, Five Lakes, Eight Rivers and Nine Streams (in sum, the lord of all the waters) [...]".
  3. ^ Overmyer (2009), p. 21.
  4. ^ Nikaido (2015), p. 54.
  5. ^ Zhiya Hua. Dragon's Name: A Folk Religion in a Village in South-Central Hebei Province. Shanghai People's Publishing House, 2013. ISBN 7208113297


External links[edit]

Media related to Dragon King at Wikimedia Commons