Chinese Dragon, Phoenix and Stone Lion

Dragon
      Chinese dragon is an imaginary animal combining fish, crocodile, snake, pig, horse, deer, as well as cloud, tornado, etc. It has a history of about 8000 years. Chinese dragon was said to be one of Chinese Gods who created the universe and human being. The dragon is closely connected with water and especially rain, and it was said that thunderstorms would be coming whenever the dragon ascended to heaven. The image of the dragon playing with a pearl is a symbol of thunderstorms. In a Chinese legend, dragon helped the Chinese ancestors, and the people got benefits from it. So the Chinese people are descendants of the dragon. The dragon is a symbol of imperial power, unity and harmony. In feudal China, the dragon was exclusively used by emperors for decorative purpose. The pattern of dragon could be found on emperors'clothing, imperial architectures, etc. The names are often connected with the emperor with a character of “dragon”, for example, “dragon seat” for the throne, “dragon robe” for the emperor's ceremonial dress, and “dragon bed” for him to sleep on.
Phoenix
      Phoenix is an imaginary bird blending peacock and other birds. In prehistoric period, phoenix played an even more important role than dragon. It was considered as the king of birds, and used as a totem by Chinese ancestors. The patterns of phoenix were widely used on murals, and other paintings. However, in the feudal society, dragon took priority over phoenix and the patterns of phoenix were used by empresses. Usually the pattern of phoenix is coupled with that of the dragon. The utensils used by the newly-weds often bear the pattern of both dragon and phoenix, which symbolize the couple's wish for a harmonious marriage and prosperous future, and people always name girls with the Chinese character of phoenix in the expectation that they can have a bright future.
Stone Lion
      In China, you can often see a pair of stone lions, a male and a female in front of the gates of Chinese buildings. The male one is on the left with his right paw resting on a ball, and the female one on the right with her left paw fondling a cub. The ball played by the male lion symbolizes unity and the cub with the female represents thriving offspring. In ancient China, the stone lions were first used to guard tombs. The lions were believed to be able to drive out devils and take away bad luck. They are not only used in front of buildings, but also at entrances of villages. In Chinese myths and legends, lion could predict disasters. It was said that if disasters were coming, the eyes of lion would bleed or turn red. Lion was regarded as the king of the animals, and it stands for power and nobleness. They were always found to guard imperial palaces and officials' residences.