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Chinese Symbols

Chinese symbols - Chinese Dragons Symbols - Chinese Vectors

Chinese culture is dominated by its symbols. From the way the language itself is written to the connections with nature and feng shui, Chinese culture is rich in symbolism. Most of the symbols are its characters, such as the fu, lou, and shou, which are all connected to luck, wealth, and prosperity. Other symbols such as the Laughing Buddha and the Lucky Cat are evolutions of culture that have also come to represent good luck and good fortune. Chinese mythology itself is rich in symbols, especially its dragons. Collectively, the dragons present in the lore are symbols of potent and auspicious powers. This is especially reflected in the control the dragons wield over the elements. Responsible for water, rainfall, typhoons, and floods, the dragons exert great control over the land and the people.
This is also why the dragons that Chinese mythology is founded on have become universal symbols of power and strength across the region and globally as well. Within Chinese language and culture, there are many symbols for good luck, wealth, and longevity but particularly luck. These symbols are used most often during weddings and important occasions such as Chinese New Year. The symbols in Chinese culture act as a way to invite good fortune and luck in and to keep bad spirits away. The colors used for the symbols also have meaning. For example, red is considered a lucky color (it is also the national color of China) and it represents wealth, status and power – which is why it is used so often in many of these symbols, to invite these same concepts into everyday life as well.

LongWang Chinese Dragon Symbol

Long Wang Dragon

The Long Wang Dragon or the Dragon Kings are representative of the four cardinal directions. Each one rules over the four seas across the east, west, north and south. Although primarily in dragon form, the Long Wang are also able to shapeshift into human form. They reside in a crystal palace underwater, with crab and shrimp as their guardians and generals. The Dragon King is a Chinese weather and water god. He is a rainmaker, like the other celestial dragons. The Dragon King is also a representation of masculinity, and the power of hereditary birth and male power being passed on. Along with the Yellow Dragon, he is one of the Five Forms of the Highest Deity presiding over the water.


Huanglong Chinese Dragon Symbol

Huanglong Dragon

Huanglong Dragon is associated with the Emperor Fu Hsi (The Yellow Emperor), and is said to originate from the River Luo. Huanglong is known for its scholarly abilities and knowledge. It is also one of the few hornless dragons across Chinese mythology. The Yellow Dragon is also a zoomorphic depiction of the powerful emperor, and seen as a symbol of his strength and power. The Yellow Emperor is seen as the genesis of Chinese culture and mythology. According to legends, it is said that the Yellow Emperor was conceived by a virgin mother, Fubao. Fubao became pregnant upon seeing the yellow light of the Northern Dipper (which in Chinese culture was seen as the symbol of God). Two years later, the Yellow Emperor was born and thus began life as we know it.

Panlong Chinese Dragon Symbol

Panlong Dragon

The Panlong Dragon or the Coiling Dragons are mainly known as water-dwellers. These water dragons, according to legend, are said to live in the lakes of the Orient. It is an aquatic dragon, and is also known as a water dragon across Chinese mythology. Panlong is a combination of different words, such as coiling; curling; curving; bending; winding; twisting – and it is connected to the shape of the Coiling Dragon. Mentions of Panlong are found in the Han Dynasty and were found as a design and pattern on Chinese bronze artwork. The Panlong is also connected to rainfall and seen as a rainmaker deity.

Quilong Chinese Dragon Symbol

Qiulong Dragon

The Qiulong Dragon or the Horned Dragons are considered the strongest of all the dragons. Many of the Chinese classics that reference Qiulong describe it as a hornless dragon. This references the Qiulong’s youth and immaturity, especially compared to the other celestial dragons. However, across Chinese mythology there is some confusion regarding the Qiulong. While in some classics, it is written that the Qiu is a hornless dragon, others have contradicted this and referred to the Qiu as a horned dragon. With little to none consensus on the presence of the horn, there is not as clear of a definition of what the Qiulong could do.

Yinglong Chinese Dragon Symbol

Yinglong Dragon

Among all the dragons, the Winged Dragons or the Yinglong are the oldest. They are also the only kind to possess the ability to fly. No other dragon besides the Winged Dragon has wings.It is also a rain deity in Chinese mythology. The Yinglong is mentioned across many different Chinese classics, and is connected to the Yellow Emperor and his descendant, King Yu. In these classic tales, Yinglong is enlisted by the Yellow Emperor and King Lu to help control great floods and is also connected with helping in making rain.

Dilong Chinese Dragon Symbol

Dilong Dragon

The Underground Dragons dwell on Earth among men. Their duty is to watch over rivers, streams and other bodies of water. According to some myths, they are seen as the counterpart of the Shenlong, the female version. It can also be translated as ‘earthworm.’ The Dilong Dragon is one of the earth dragons and one of the few terrestrial dragons comparatively, as most of the other dragons are celestial beings. Mentioned in some accounts, seeing Dilong was a sign of defeat, while seeing other dragons ascend such as a pair of two, would’ve meant a victory. But because of the Dilong’s connection to the earth rather than the sky, it was seen as a weaker symbol.

Fucanglong Chinese Dragon Symbol

Fucanglong Dragon

Fucanglong are the Dragons of the Hidden Treasures. These are dragons that dwell in the underworld. They guard buried treasure, whether it is natural or man-made and protect these from the greed of humans. Legends state that the Fucanglong are responsible for the creation of volcanoes. According to the legends, volcanoes are created when the Fucanglong emerges from the underworld to report to heaven. The Fucanglong also possesses a magic pearl, and it is his most precious object. There is no known claim for the pearl can do, especially for it to be protected the way it is. Although seen as a cruel and scary creature, the Fucanglong is more passive and emotionless. It takes its duty of protection very seriously, but is otherwise unbothered as long as the underworld is stable and free from harm.

Shenlong Dragon Chinese Symbol

Shenlong Dragon

Shenlong Dragons are spiritual dragons that control the elements. Their main power is controlling the wind and rain. Shenlong is known as the master of storms. It is also known as a rainmaker, referencing its control over the water element. A celestial dragon like Tianlong, the Shenlong holds a lot of importance and significance in Chinese mythology and lore. The celestial dragons are usually depicted as having dark blue scales. They govern the element of wind, rain, fire and earth, and are the source of all agriculture, which is why they are given so much importance in mythology. If the shenlong was upset, it could bring about destruction by causing floods and other natural disasters.

Tianlong Chinese Dragon Symbol

Tianlong Dragon

The Tianlong are the celestial dragons, tasked with an important job. They are the dragons that pull the chariots of the gods themselves. They are also the guards of the palace. It is a proper name, and is used in many different contexts. Tianlong refers to many different things now. It is the name of two Chinese constellations and has also been used in Buddhist contexts. In Buddhist references, it is known as the Heavenly nagas (dragon god). In Chinese classics and hexagrams, Tianlong is used in the context of the sky and the heavens, as the connection between man and the celestial world.

Cai Wealth Chinese Symbols

Cai – Wealth

The Cai Wealth symbol is all about the money. It means money, wealth, riches, property, valuables and is seen as a sign of good fortune. In everyday Chinese culture, the Cai could refer to many things: a successful business, a particularly good harvest or a successful office career. No matter what, it is a symbol of good tidings and fortunes in work life. The symbol of Cai is most commonly seen during Chinese New Year, when fireworks are lit as a means to take the poverty away and leave the celebrating household with money and good fortune.

Fu Prosperity Chinese Symbol

Fu – Prosperity

The Fu Prosperity symbol revolves around fortune, luck, prosperity and wealth. Like the other characters Lu and Shu, the fu is part of a trifecta of Chinese symbols that represent the key forces governing life. It is largely associated with the Chinese New Year, and an invitation for prosperity and wealth to enter life. The Fu symbol is used across different places as a symbol of good luck and fortune. It can also be seen used across Chinese artwork and calligraphy.

Shou - Longevity Chinese Symbol

Shou – Longevity

The symbol of Shou Longevity represents the wish for a long life. In Chinese art, these three concepts are visually presented as three star gods bearing the same names of Fu, Lu, and Shou. The Shou symbol is usually found on objects such as textiles, furniture, ceramics and jewelry.The three symbols, and the most important concepts in Chinese culture are the symbols of Fu, Lu and Shou. Each of these as individual symbols represent important aspects of life, such as prosperity, luck and longevity. Combined, these three forces are what guide life and were considered important symbols – and still are, in Chinese culture.

Lu-Luck Chinese Symbol

Lu – Luck

The Lu Luck symbol is a sign of fortune, luck and abundance that is to come. It is a symbol for the God of Prosperity, as well as the God of High Ranking Office. Originally shown armed with a short sword, the Lu symbol has evolved over time. It is now depicted as a symbol of good wishes and glad tidings.The God of Prosperity, or Lu, is seen as a powerful deity and it was believed that he governed a person’s success in a career. Lu is part of the Three Immortals, and is connected to wealth, power, office, rank, and status.

Shuāngxǐ - Double happiness Chinese Symbol

Shuāngxǐ – Double happiness

The symbol of Shuāngxǐ double happiness is a representation of the strong concept of symmetry that exists throughout Chinese culture. As the symbol shows, there is a clear respect for balance, symmetry, and harmony within the culture that is represented in these symbols. It is a depiction of the many possibilities that exist, the different beliefs and how these can be manifested into a reliable and long-lasting version of energy and luck, grounded in harmony. This idea of harmony, luck and energy can be applied to different facets of life from love, to relationships as well as career and health. The symbol for double happiness is also used in the context of marriage and love, and is seen as a good luck charm.

xi happiness Chinese Symbol

Xi – Happiness

The symbol of XI represents happiness and joy. It is defined as happy, to experience delight and feel pleased. The xi symbol is more of an expression of happiness at joyful occasions. Generally depicted in red, a lucky color, the xi symbol is more of a common language occurrence. When doubled, the shuangxi, or the double happiness is not used in common language and is used for happy occasions such as weddings. For both the xi and shuangxi, these are considered positive signs and are a bringer of good fortune.

Goldfish Chinese Symbol


The Goldfish is considered very lucky in Chinese culture. A representation of unity, loyalty, abundance, good fortune, and wealth, the fish have many positive connotations associated with it. The main reason that the fish are considered as a symbol of luck in Chinese culture is connected with language. The Chinese word for fish very closely resembles the word for surplus in the language, and therefore the reason for that connection. And this connection to fish and abundance runs deep. For example, during the auspicious Spring Festival, fish is prepared and left uneaten by families. This is to represent the desire to have extra, or surplus during the year. Because the fish are able to live a long life, they are connected with the idea of longevity. And their behavior of swimming in pairs leads to the connection of unity and loyalty. Fish are also representative of fertility, because of their own abilities to copulate and procreate on a large scale.

Bamboo Chinese Symbol


Bamboo has always held an important place in Chinese culture. Seen as a symbol of strength, longevity, virtue, and good, it has a lot of different associations. Its importance in culture is not just as a plant, but also as an integral part of the fabric of people’s lives. Bamboo is planted, its shoots are eaten, it is painted and it looms large across different parts of Chinese art and culture. It is one of the few plants to have poems written around it, and to be a subject of poems and other literature. Men who prefer bamboo are also seen as good and virtuous. But the connection with bamboo goes even further than this. It is seen as a symbol of strength, determination and resilience because that is its own characteristics – bamboo is a hearty plant that can grow in a variety of conditions. And bamboo is also tied to masculinity. It is seen as a symbol for the way men should behave, and all that is gentlemanly. Moreover, it reflects the mental condition as well as the physical strength that a gentleman must have in Chinese culture.

Laughing Buddha Chinese Symbol

Laughing Buddha

The Laughing Buddha is a reflection of the joy and luck that is supposed to be coming your way. It is a symbol of happiness, health, abundance and being truly at peace and content with life. Pu-Tai, the Celestial Buddha, is generally depicted differently than traditional Buddhist renderings. He is depicted as an overweight figure, with a boisterous laughing face and bald. And he is generally clad in a robe and is complemented by his prayer beads. The Laughing Buddha titled emerged from his protruding stomach and the cheerful smile that adorns his face. The Laughing Buddha is seen as a sign of good, of love and joy. And this symbol can be found in many places across Chinese culture, such as temples, restaurants, and businesses as an invitation to good luck and fortune to come their way. He is also seen as a benevolent figure that gives to the poor and needy.

Lucky Cat Chinese Symbol

Lucky Cat

The Lucky Cat, as the name might suggest, is a sign of good fortune and luck. Although originally a Japanese design, the Lucky Cat has since been welcome into Chinese imagery. Generally made of ceramic, the Lucky Cat is thought to bring luck to its owners. In particular, it is thought to bring luck to shopkeepers. This is why the Lucky Cat is often seen in shops, usually at the front as a good omen. The cat is usually depicted in certain, lucky colors such as black, white, red and gold. It is also depicted as holding a coin in some versions. The coin is a symbol of the wealth and good fortune the cat will bring with it. In Japanese culture, the Lucky Cat is usually kept in bedrooms or studies of houses as a way to invite good luck into the house.

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