Entering the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, one will find that everywhere has decoration of dragons in various shapes. Some coil around pillars, some fly through clouds, and some surf over wavy seas. Dragon statues are made of various materials, including stone, wood, and colored glazes.
Statistics show that the number of decorative dragons has exceeded 12,000 in the Hall of Supreme Harmony alone.
Decorative dragons in the Forbidden City are quite unique in architecture in China. Dragons in the Palace Museum are incarnations of emperors. As a result, dragons on the ceiling of the Hall of Supreme Harmony are quite fierce and dignified with wide open eyes.
Dragons in the palace are also propitious. Chi Wen, one of the nine sons of the legendary celestial dragon, can scale great heights to gaze into the distance, and is considered to be able to ward off fires, along with other dragons on the ridges of roofs and on copper jars on the ground.
Looking at snakes swimming in water and lightning in the sky, ancestors, living in dangerous environment, regarded nature with rapt awe. They originally worshipped the dragon as a totem.
As the dragon symbolizes good fortune in Chinese culture and folklore, one may also see dragons decorating on bronze vessels and porcelain wares of relics. People race dragon boats and perform the fire dragon dance to celebrate holidays even today.