The Dragon's Nine Descendants
Yummy Recipes specially presents the statues of the Dragon's Nine Descendants' for the enjoyment of our diners. According to the popular version of the legend, it is said that a dragon once gave birth to nine descendants. Unfortunately, none of them grew up to become dragons and instead had unique appearances accompanied by their very own personalities. Many conflicting versions of the legend exist, each describing the nine descendants in different ways. Some interpretations of the legend even state that there were more than nine due to the reason that the number "nine" in Chinese is occasionally used to broadly describe very large numbers.
Chao Feng is known to be fearless by nature, loving to seek out danger and excitement. He prefers perching on top of precarious places as he loves to stare off into the distance. A symbol of good fortune, beauty and majesty, the Chinese often carved Chao Fen onto the four corners of their roof. He also serves as a guard against evil and disaster. He is inquisitive and dangerous, and is often seen with a short neck, scales, claws and two horns.
The legendary Chi Wen has the head of a dragon and the body of a fish without a tail. He loves exploring dangerous places and has the habit of swallowing fire. He possesses the power to bless rain and can spout water from his mouth. As such, he can often be found carved onto the ridgepoles of roofs, serving as a protector against fire and evil influences. He can be compared to Western gargoyles, also serving to protect residents against floods and typhoons.
Despite his fearsome lion-like appearance, Suan Ni is actually very passive by nature. He loves to lie down and enjoy a peaceful environment. He is also known to enjoy the smoke from fire. Thus, he can be seen carved onto the base of statues of Buddha and the legs of incense burners. Due to his preference for sitting quietly and observing, he rarely moves and is usually shown stationary. His image brings wisdom and knowledge, and also ensures that children of the family look attractive.
Ya Zi is ferocious and stubborn as he takes pleasure in fighting and killing. When agitated, he would glare murderously at his enemies, inspiring the Chinese proverb, "Ya Zi must have his revenge", referring to a narrow-hearted person who insists on having the final say. Since ancient times, Ya Zi's image has adorned the handles of weapons belonging to generals and palace guards as well as the ones used for ceremonial purposes. It is said that this can contribute to their power and boost the morale of soldiers, assisting them in triumph over their enemies.
The most gentle of all the Dragon's descendants, Qiu Niu is known for his talent and passion for music. With an appearance akin to that of a yellowish dragon, he can often be found crouching at the head of a Chinese musical instrument called 'Qin', appreciating the delicate and soothing notes coming from the instrument's strings. As such, Qiu Niu's image is often carved on the heads of the valuable Chinese string instruments. He is also said to be a protector of the home.
The mysterious beast, Tao Tie, has the body of a goat and the fangs of a tiger. He has a very large head and a huge mouth and is a glutton who eats anything that he discovers. Hence, the term "Tao Tie' is used to refer to people who are very greedy. He has the power to bring wealth into the household and is usually seen on tableware, ensuring an abundant supply of food and wealth. Some even believe that he guards the entrance to the after world.
Pu Lao is said to live by the sea and loves roaring loudly. Despite being the descendant of a dragon, Pu Lao has a fear of whales and will cry out loud in fear whenever he is being attacked by one. This is why Pu Lao can frequently be found carved onto the Chinese Bronze Bells, with the bells' wooden striker carved in the shape of a whale. With each strike of the whale, Pu Lao's roars can be overheard miles away.
Jiao Tu, who is said to resemble a clam, is very withdrawn by nature. He has a strong dislike for other people who enter his lair. People have carved his image on their doors, hoping that he will keep their homes tightly guarded and safe. He is usually found in palaces, mansions, and homes of royalty, officials and merchants. He can prevent evil intentions from entering and ward of negative energy. He also protects homes against robbery and haunting.
Ba Xia, who has extraordinary strength, likes to carry heavy objects. He has the appearance of a tortoise with an additional set of teeth. Although he is often portrayed craning his neck in an effort to move, he is always unable to take a single step forward. Ba Xia symsolises longevity and fortune. He has the power to carry the heaviest of burdens, and is therefore depicted at the bottom of pillars to create a solid foundation for buildings.