Metal Animation has a great article on Chinese Dragons, as well as pictures of some outstanding sculptures. I've copied a portion of the article below. The picture is of one of their sculptures. Follow this link for read the whole thing.
Chinese Imperial Water Dragon - Mythology
In there are five types of dragon:-
- 1. Those guarding the gods and emperors
- 2. Those controlling the wind and rain
- 3. Earthly dragons which deepened the rivers and seas
- 4. Guardians of hidden treasure
- 5. The first dragon
The First dragon appeared to the mythical emperor Fu-hsi, and filled the hole in the sky made by the monster Kung Kung. Its waking, sleeping and breathing determined day and night. Season and weather.
There are many differences between the classical dragon and the , these include the ability to fly even without wings, shape-shifting abilities, and of course the general benevolent behaviour to the populace.
The Chinese dragon is made up of nine entities. The head of camel, the eyes of a demon, the ears of a cow, the horns of a stag, the neck & body of a snake, It's claws that of an eagle, while the soles of his feet are that of a tiger, and the scales that cover it's body are that of a carp.
The Chinese dragon has four claws as standard, but the Imperial dragon has five, this is to identify it above the lesser classes. Anyone other than the emperor using the 5 claw motif was put to death.