A dragon and a phoenix figure on a roof by night. The phoenix seems to take off while the dragon seems to growl at him. The warm light of the temple is contrasted by a cold glow from an apartment building in the back.

Dragon & Phoenix

The dragon and the phoenix are two of the most important animals in Chinese mythology. Their meaning is deep, fascinating, and complex. Together, they are used for five to eight thousand years. The best one-sentence summary is probably that they symbolize the yin and yang of the male (dragon) and female (phoenix). (Which makes them popular for weddings and emperors alike).

This particular pair “lives” on the roof of Longshan Temple (龍山寺, Dragon Mountain Tempel) – probably the best known temple in Taipei and the spiritual and tourism center of Wanhua.

We’ll leave these two particular creatures to their play for now. (What do you see in it?) Next week will be dedicated to a different part of Taiwanese lore: Ghost Month.

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