Melbourne’s Dai Loong (Big Dragon) has particular significance in the history of dragon making from China. Processional dragons are handmade out of silk, bamboo and wire. Historically it is a folk craft which originated in Foshan, in the Guangdong Province in southern China.
- Due to the suppression of traditional culture, the production of processional dragons in Foshan ceased after 1949.
However, in 1978, samples from Melbourne’s early processional dragons were given to a descendant of a traditional parade dragon-maker in Foshan; and before long, Dai Loong was created. This prompted a revival in Foshan’s dragon making industry; after a period of almost 30 years.
The Chinese symbol of the dragon first appeared during the Yin and Shang Dynasties (16th-11th Century B.C.), as inscriptions on bones and turtle shields. They depicted a horned animal with teeth and scales. Unlike western representations of the dragon, Chinese dragons are good-natured and are believed to bring happiness, immortality, fertility and ward of evil spirits.
- Through the dynasties, the five-clawed dragon has also represented the emperor and some Chinese refer to themselves as Loong De Chuan Ren (Descendants of the Dragon).
- Every Chinese New Year, (aka the beginning of the Spring Festival) is marked with the appearance of the dragon, who rises from his slumber into the sky where his breath produces rain clouds.
- If you are interested in becoming part of the Melbourne Dai Loong Association Inc. you can contact them directly via their website.