Dragon (Greek drakon
) – a 'winged serpent,' only with eagle-like legs, is a combination of a snake and a bird, spirit and matter, sometimes fire-breathing.
In the East dragon is a Heavenly Force and the source of good, whereas in the West it is regarded as an evil and destructive power. Its symbolism is particularly honored in China as that of life and light, and the golden dragon is a family emblem of the house of the Chinese Emperor. In the Eastern horoscope dragon is the luckiest sign.
Tianlong,* the "heavenly dragon," guards the dwellings of the gods and their peace. According to a Chinese legend, the Sun completes its daily journey from East to West in a chariot driven by six dragons.
In the evening the chariot stops, the dragons and the driver take a break. In the painting a member of the Emperor's family is out on a walk along the border of China guarded by the dragons. The outline of fortification resembles the Great Wall of China.
* regarded as the most powerful of dragons, his touch turning stones into gold and his breath producing tongues of flame or swirling clouds; a symbol of strength and dominion.