The dragon is a legendary creature that has been revered in ancient myths and legends of China and other East Asian countries. It is seen as the ruler of the skies, in charge of clouds and rain, and is also known as the master of wind and rain. In Chinese culture, the dragon is considered to be an auspicious animal and is depicted in various forms of art and decoration. One of the most iconic depictions is that of two dragons facing each other, playing with a precious orb, which is referred to as the "eastern dragon playing with the pearl." sometimes people also call this pearl as dragon fireball or dragonball.
The traditional Chinese interpretation of this depiction is that it embodies the "life consciousness" of the ancients, representing the recognition, understanding, and development of the endless cycle of life. In this context, the "pearl" played with by the dragons is seen as the symbol of a dragon egg and the dragons playing with it represent care and respect for life. This image also symbolizes the relationship between parents and their children, as well as the worship of the sun, with the pearl being seen as a representation of the sun rising from the east.
In this depiction, the two dragons are thought to be male and female and their play with the pearl is also considered a courtship ritual. The male dragon is said to present the female dragon with a stone ball, shell, or even a bone with a smooth surface, moderate size, and weight. After the female dragon approves of the "pearl", the two dragons engage in a mesmerizing dance, throwing and catching the "pearl" during their movements. This is also a way for families to enhance their relationships and for young dragons to learn and train.
The "Two Dragons Playing with Pearls" is also a celebration of reproduction, as the dragon is seen as having strong fertility and the ability to bring forth water and fire, and control the skies. This depiction is often used in architectural paintings and in the decoration of noble and luxurious vessels, and the arrangement of the dragons may vary depending on the shape of the object being decorated. The "pearl" in the center is shaped like a fireball and is a representation of the sun.
So how did the eastern dragon play with the pearl? Males look for stone balls or shells/snail shells or even bones (preferably skulls) with a smooth surface, moderate size, and weight, and present them to females. After the female is satisfied with the "beads", the two dragons will start a dazzling dance, throwing and catching in the process of dancing, passing the "dragon balls". Multiple members of the same family also perform "playing beads", which can be used as a means of enhancing the relationship between husband and wife, and can also provide training for underage individuals. When a dragon becomes an adult, both male and female will leave the family. Single youths will perform the most rigorous and complicated dances when courting a mate, which is the most typical "two dragons play with pearls". Females will only choose their most compatible dance partners to marry. In addition, dragons will pile up markers with boulders, corals, bones, and other items on the seabed. The function is unknown, and it may be to assist in marking the territory. The ancients believed that this large "building" was a dragon's lair, and it was generally called "Dragon Palace".
However, from the perspective of aesthetics and romance, people are more willing to believe that the pearls played by dragons are called "Dragon Balls", and most of them are night pearls and pearls. The ancients said that "the dragon ball is in the jaw". The dragon ball is considered to be a kind of precious pearl, which can avoid water and fire. It is said that it spits out by the dragon. In fact, in addition to "two dragons playing with pearls", there are also "dragons playing with pearls" and "clouds and dragons holding birthday", all of which express the meaning of wishing peace and longevity...
In conclusion, the "eastern dragon playing with the pearl" is a rich and intricate symbol in Chinese culture, representing the care and respect for life, the relationship between parents and children, the worship of the sun, and the celebration of fertility and reproduction. It is a testament to the deep cultural beliefs and values of the ancients and continues to be a significant part of Chinese culture to this day.