In Chinese mythology it is said that the dragon had 9 sons or decedents, each one possessing certain qualities.
1. Bi Xi – The dragon’s eldest son. Bi Wi has the body and legs of a tortoise and the face of a dragon. He is said to be capable of carrying heavy loads and helping people find strength during hardship. His image is often found within the foundations of buildings; holding up pillars.
2. Chi Wen – The draons 2nd son, Chi Wen is capable of controlling water. He appears as a large lizard without a tail. His image often adorns rooftops, as it is believed he will protect the house from fires and natural disasters.
3. Pulao – The dragons 3rd son, although he is the smallest his is known for his mighty roar that can be heard for miles, often announcing impending upheavals. His image is often found on temple bells and drums. Pulao lives on the beach, although he is afraid of whales and will use his roar to scare them away.
4. Bi’an – The 4th son of the dragon. Bi’an has the body of a dragon with a face like a tiger with long fangs. He is revered for his string sense of morality and fairness; therefore his image can be found decorating courts and prisons.
5. Taotie – The dragons 5th son, Taotie often resembles a wolf, with a large gaping mouth and ox-like horns protruding from his head. His image appears on bowls and kitchen utensils as it is said that he died from eating too much, and so his image is used as a warning not to commit gluttony.
6. Gongfu – The dragons 6th son, he loves water, he is believed to reside on pools and lakes. He has a long curling snout like that of a tapir and tusks protruding upwards from his lower jaw. His image is often built into water features, bridges and pears to protect against water related disasters.
7. Yazi – The 7th son of the dragon, Yazi is the most ferocious of all the dragons sons, he is renounced for being impulsive and bad tempered. His image can be found on weaponry, his body forming sword handles and his mouth grasping the blade. Is image was believed to enhance performance in battle. He appears as a traditional dragon with glaring eyes.
8. Suanni – The 8th son, he has the mane and body of a lion covered in flames. It even said he was the first lion to walk the Earth. He rarely moves as he likes to observe his surroundings and so is often depicted sitting on top of incense burners and candle holders as he is fond of smoke and fire. It is believed that if you invite his image into your home he will ensure that your children will be good looking.
9. Quiniu – The dragon’s youngest son. Quiniu is artistic and loves music, especially music played on stringed instruments. His head is often carved into the top of musical instruments. He is hornless with an open mouth although he is singing.
I am hoping to conduct further research into each son, with the hope of producing a new series of paintings depicting each one in a modern and interesting way.