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Chen Rong's Chinese Nine Dragons Masterpiece

2024 is the year of the dragon. The image of the Chinese dragon is different from that of the Western dragon. The dragon is an triphibian animal, capable of surviving on the ground, under the sea, and in the sky. Chinese dragons can fly without wings and prefer residing in the ocean. When flying, they conceal themselves behind clouds in the sky, preventing people from seeing their head and tail simultaneously. Chinese dragons are known for spitting water and fire, embodying mystery, elusiveness, and heavenly power. The Chinese emperor, considered the son of heaven, had the authority to command dragons, making the dragon a symbol of the emperor in China.

'Nine Dragons', a painting by Chen Rong of the Chinese Sung Dynasty, is housed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) of the Qing Dynasty once owned this painting, which was last sold for $25,000 USD to the Boston museum in 1917.

Chen Rong's 'Nine Dragons' depicts nine dragons flying amidst mountains, clouds, or torrents, each with unique postures and a vivid imagination. Later, the Chinese named these dragons Heavenly Dragon, Earthly Dragon, Water Dragon, Fire Dragon, Fortune Dragon, Power Dragon, Longevity Dragon, Happiness Dragon, and Wealth Dragon.

Panorama View Nine Dragons Chinese Panting

This is a depiction of the Chinese Nine Dragons Painting, created by Chen Rong (1200-1266) in the Sung Dynasty around 1244 AD. Currently, this painting is part of the Boston Museum's collection. Swipe or click to view all nine dragons.

In 2017, Chen Rong's "Six Dragons" was sold at Christie's in New York for a price of 43.5 million US dollars, totaling $48,967,500, including the commission. The image dimension of the "Six Dragons" painting is 34.3 x 440.4 cm, while the image dimension of the "Nine Dragons" painting is 46.2 x 958.4 cm. The value of "Nine Dragons" should be three times that of "Six Dragons."

A total of 22 pieces of Chen Rong's works are still in existence today, with 11 pieces in China and Taiwan, six in Japan, and five in the USA.

Chen Rong was very skilled at drawing dragons. Before the Sung Dynasty, images of dragons in artworks were fairly abstract and mysterious-looking. Chen Rong's dragons give people a sense of shocking power. His dragons became vivid and authentic representations of Chinese dragons. Only a few of Chen Rong's paintings remain today.

Chinese dragon culture descends from Chinese I-Ching. This means that the Chinese discussed dragons before 2900 B.C. A dragon is an triphibious animal, capable of surviving on the ground, in the water, and in the sky. Mystic, powerful, and unreachable characteristics make dragons a privileged icon for Chinese emperors. The Dragon Philosophy of I-Ching has influenced Chinese philosophy of life for thousands of years.

There are nine dragons engraved on the walls and ground in the Forbidden City in Beijing, the imperial palace of the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1912). Nine is the highest digit and stands for top rank. Nine is also related to the sky in I-Ching. That's why the imperial robes of the Qing Dynasty also have nine dragons on them. Chinese legendary dragons have nine sons.

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