"The Dragon in Vietnam is symbol for a Father and symbol for a Water. 80% of Viet people live on a Rice, and Rice needs a lot of Water to grow. The Dragon is a symbol of Rain - God of Rain (Ly Dragon). Dragon in Vietnam has a good meaning".
Luu Trung Kien, Hanoi.
What They Look Like
The first known version of Vietnamese Dragon, "Giao Long" goes back to The Dong Son civilization
(400BC to 200AD).
The following period (Dai La) of Chinese domination (111 BC to 938 AD) had a huge influence to the Vietnamese Art. This is why Dai La Dragon looks very similar to Chinese Dragon.
Vietnam became independent under Ly Dynasty, and Ly Dragon was born during this exiting time. Water dragon in comparison with Chinese dragon has thin and long body of snake,
small head with long whisker and mane and fine legs with small claws.
The Nine Entities (parts) of a Vietnamese Dragon
The dragons are said to be made up of many different types of animals of the Earth:
Scales: Carp (fish)
Horns: Giant Stag (deer)
Eyes: hare (rabbit)
Ears: Water Buffalo
On a Trip
Ha Long Bay was one of the places we came to visit in our search for Vietnamese Dragons.
It is literally translated as "Bay of Descending Dragons".
There is also a local legend, which has been handed down, relating to the name Ha Long Bay, which tells the following tale:
Long ago, in the first founding days, the Viet people were attacked by foreign aggressors.
The Jade Emperor sent the Mother Dragon and her band of Child Dragons to help the Viet people fight the invaders. While the enemy vessels were launching massive attacks against the mainland, the dragons descended in flocks
from the sky. They spat out innumerable pearls which changed into jade stone islands the moment they touched the water. These islands linked together to form firm citadels that checked the enemy’s advance and smashed their
vessels to pieces.
After the invaders were driven out, Mother Dragon and her Child Dragons did not return to Heaven but stayed on earth, right at the place where the battle occurred. The spot where the Mother Dragon
landed was Ha Long, and where the Child Dragons came down was Bai Tu Long. The place where their tails violently wagged was called Long Vi, the present-day Tra Co Peninsula with its soft sandy beach stretching many kilometers.