Yuandiao Dragon

We have discussed on previous occasions the wonderful history of dragons from the country of China. Perhaps more than any other civilization, the ancient Chinese were intrigued by dragons. From their zodiac, to their art, to their histories, dragons appeared prominently. Much of the Chinese dragon iconography is very stylized. It is commonly gaudy ornamentation incorporated into home furnishings. Standalone dragon statutes are more rare. But these generally appear more realistic and will more commonly match up closely with known types of dinosaurs. Above is a celadon (jade green) Yuandiao Dragon figure from the Shang Dynasty (about 2000 BC). It is currently housed at China’s Changzhou Museum and its authenticity is not questioned by scholars. This beautiful piece was recently brought to our attention by Chris St. James, who pointed out the similarity to a Ceratosaurus dinosaur. Unlike the T-rex (with two fingers) the Ceratosaurus had four fingers on each hand just like this dragon. The statue shows a pudgy, reptilian form (perhaps a juvenile dragon) in a defensive stance. But the skin, horns and overall morphology are quite convincing. How could a Chinese artist 4000 years ago have known how to model a Ceratosaurus? There is no evidence for ancient paleontologists. It must be that they actually saw real dragons and that dinosaurs have existed in recent times. We should use this kind of evidence to bring glory to our great Creator! “Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:” (Psalms 148:7).

Posted on March 31, 2023 by dwoetzel.