Oriental or Eastern Dragons, are the most recorded type of dragon throughout history. There are three main types of Oriental dragons which are Chinese, Japanese and Korean or Indonesian.
What all Eastern Dragons seem to have in common is appearance for the most part. They are said to be made up of various animals found on Earth. The body of a snake, scales of a carp, head of a camel, horns of a giant stag, the eyes of a hare, ears like a bull, neck like an inguana, belly of a frog, paws like a tigers, and claws like an eagle. Usually they have a lion mane around their neck and a tuft on the elbow. Eastern dragons have 117 scales, 81 infused with yang, the good, and 36 infused with yin, the bad. This evens out the dragons temper and personality.
The difference in the dragons appearance are the number of toes on each. Dragons with three toes are from Japan. The Japanese believed the dragon originated in their country. Since the dragon had a tenancy to travel, they believed that the farther it went the more toes it gained. By the time it reached Korea it had four and by the time it got to China it had five. They also explain that China was about as far a the dragon got because it grew to many toes and couldn't walk anymore.
Four toed dragons are from Korea. The Koreans tell a similar story of the dragon. They of course know that the dragon began with them. When the dragon travels East or North, it loses toes. When it travels South or West it gains toes. This explains why the Japanese dragon has three toes and the Chinese dragon has five toes. It also explains why the dragon never made it to Europe or the Americas. As it traveled West to Europe, it grew so many toes that it could no longer walk. As it traveled East to the Americas, it lost all of its toes and could no longer walk.
According to the Chinese the dragon originated in their kingdom and has always had five toes. The farther it goes from China, the more toes it loses. Hence, when it reached Korea it only had four toes and by the time it got to Japan it only had three. This also explains why it never made it to Europe or the Americas in that by the time it got that far it had lost all of its toes and could not walk.
The sex of the dragon depicted can also be seen. In all three countries, the determination is based on the same factors. The male dragon holds a war club in its tail while the female dragon holds a sensu or fan in its tail. One problem is that you cannot always see the tail or tell the difference between the fan or the war club. But then again, if you are not another dragon, you probably do not need to know.
Oriental dragons come in the colours blue, black, white, red, or yellow. The five-toed yellow dragon became a symbol for the Chinese Emperors. The yellow dragons were a symbol of power and know as Imperial dragons. It was against the law for anyone to have a depiction of a five-toed dragon or they were put to death.
Oriental dragons are sown with a pearl in their mouth, under their chin or in a claw. It is where they get the power to ascends to heaven.
Many Oriental dragons live in the sea most of the time. Land and sky dragons dislike cold weather spend their winters at the bottom of the ocean. They leave for the ocean before the Autumn frosts. In the spring when it gets warmer the dragons surface from the sea, causing disturbances in the air and water causing floods and hurricanes. The locals believe that every pond, lake, river, and stream has it's own guardian dragons. People rarely see the dragons because they are very shy and sink down into the water when they think they are being watched. The Land dragons make their homes inside mountains and under the ground. They don't like to be disturbed, and they can become so bad tempered that experts in "feng shui" are consulted before anyone digs in the soil. Feng shui is the art of placing graves, homes, and buildings in locations that won't bother dragons.
In 1611B.C., the Emperor of China appointed the first Royal Dragon Feeder, whose duty was to throw food into sacred dragon ponds. Dragons enjoy Bamboo, milk and cream, the flesh of swallows, and arsenic. Eastern Dragons never eat people. But woe to anyone who dines on roasted swallows and rides in a boat. Dragons, detecting the scent of the digested birds, will overturn the boat and eat the swallow-swallower. Wise people never offer mong plants to dragons. Although mong is a delicious vegetable used in Oriental cooking, it makes dragons irritable. And when an Eastern Dragon is out of sorts, it can cause storms, floods, and earthquakes.
Oriental dragons are said to have power over water and air elements. They breathe out heavy mists and fogs and can often produce rain clouds, thunderstorms, and hurricanes. Sometimes the weather is affected by the mating or birth cycles of the oriental dragons. They can cause tsunamis, underground eruptions, whirlwinds, great storms, whirlpools, thunder, cyclones, and hurricanes. The hatching process takes 1000 years and dragon parents are jubilant when their egg successfully hatches. The father seems to stir up turbulence, while the mother calms it in a Ying-yang type of pattern. The dragon grows horn after maturing for 2000 years.
Dragon blood, fat, brains, saliva, teeth, and horns are miracle medicines curing everything from measles to madness. Dragon saliva is used for inking jade and gold and as a base for perfume and incense. Saliva can be found floating on the ocean surface. Dragon meat is only for royalty. Dragon whiskers are used for keeping flies and mosquitoes away. They are also a lure for fishermen, because they attract fish when placed in a stream. The best quality whiskers are three feet long, and deep purple. Dragon paths are more important than dragon products. To assure good fortune, locate your home, your business, and the family burial plot near underground dragon paths. Feng shui experts can be hired to advise you. They own round wooden compasses that point to the paths and they sometimes taste the soil before deciding upon a lucky site.
Unlike Western Dragons Oriental Dragons do not horde. They wear their jewlery and build grandpalaces of coral and pearl. They are also know to give treasures to those who meet them.
Oriental eggs are laid on river banks and hatch during a lightning storm. Unlike the European Dragon and other Oriental Dragons, Chinese dragons lay only a single egg, which they carry about, often beneath the chin. The eggs are exceptionally hard and stone like. The egg in its early stages is usually white and resembles a pearl, but late in incubation it changes to a golden, or even a reddish-gold, hue.
t'ien lung- celestial dragon, protector of the heavens
shen-lung- azure; spiritual dragon, bringer of rain
imperial dragon- five-toed; used by emperors to decorate their robes, usage by anyone else was punishable by death
ti-lung- dragon of land, streams, and rivers; spends springtime in heaven and autumn in the sea.
fu-ts'ang lung- treasure dragon; guards secret hoards of jewels and metals in the depths of the earth
yellow dragon or dragon horse- divine messenger; arose from the River Lo and revealed the 8 trigrams of I Ching
lung wang- human-bodied fire dragon; immortal dragon king; inhabits a palace at the bottom of the sea
thunder dragon- obsidian; transforms itself into a boy with bright ultramarine skin who rides a scarlet carp.
t'ao t'ieh- has one head and two forelegs, but has two bodies with separarte hind legs and tails; personifies gluttony; pictured on dishes to discourage greed; used commonly by artists because of its symmetry
yu lung- fish dragon; symbolizes success in exams