Four benevolent animals (四靈獸)
1. The dragon (龍), lord of scaly animals.
2. The qilin (麒麟), lord of furred quadrupeds.
3.The tortoise (龜), lord of shelled animals.
4.The Fenghuang (鳳凰), lord of birds.
Attributes : Water
Ability: Good luck
This description accords with the artistic depictions of the dragon down to the present day. The dragon has also acquired an almost unlimited range of supernatural powers. It is said to be able to disguise itself as a silkworm, or become as large as our entire universe. It can fly among the clouds or hide in water. It can form clouds, can turn into water, can change color as an ability to blend in with their surroundings, as an effective form of camouflage or glow in the dark.
Further sources give variant lists of the nine animal resemblances. Sinologist Henri Dore lists these characteristics of an authentic dragon: "The horns of a deer. The head of a camel. A demon's eyes. The neck of a snake. A tortoise's viscera. A hawk's claws. The palms of a tiger. A cow's ears. And it hears through its horns, its ears being deprived of all power of hearing." He notes that, "Others state it has a rabbit's eyes, a frog's belly, a carp's scales." The anatomy of other legendary creatures, including the chimera and manticore, is similarly amalgamated from fierce animals.
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