In China, the dragon and the phoenix are traditional animals symbolic of auspiciousness. Along with the lin and the tortoise, they were known as the “Four Supernatural Spirits.” According to ancient records, the dragon appeared in a magical variety of forms. It could be long or short, small or gigantic. It could be both secretive yet active, and it also inhabited everywhere from the heights to the depths. Traveling between the skies and earth, dragons were considered the mounts of heavenly deities. They also had the power to control rain.During times of drought, dragons could bestow precious water, and in times of flood, they could stop the rain and clear the skies.
The phoenix was commonly referred to as the “King of Birds.” A supernatural bird, it embodied the five virtues of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity. As such, it harmed neither a single insect nor blade of grass. It perched only in the finest firmiana tree, eating and drinking nothing but bamboo seeds and sweet spring water. Therefore, any reported sighting of a dragon and a phoenix was considered an extremely auspicious sign, said to herald a glorious period of peace and prosperity for the people and the country. This is reflected in the Chinese saying, “When the dragon soars and the phoenix dances, the people will enjoy happiness for years, bringing peace and tranquility to all under heaven.”