The dragon symbolizes the yang forces of the universe.
The tiger symbolizes the yin forces of the universe.
Ancient Chinese Taoist philosophy explains the world in terms of two forcesyin (from the ancient Chinese word for shady) and yang (from the word for bright). Yang elements include light, fire, rain, and the heavens. Yin elements include darkness, water, wind, and the earth. Male traits are yang, and female traits are yin. Yang qualities are active, while yin qualities are passive. Everything in the universe results from the interaction of yin and yang.
The dragon and tiger have long been symbols of these two forces. The dragon, a mythical animal thought to reign over the heavens, stands for yang. The tiger, respected in ancient China as mightiest of the wild beasts, stands for yin. The screens illustrate why these two animals, both of them powerful and strong, are fitting symbols for yin and yang.
The tiger crouches low to the rocky ground, a sign that the yin earth is the tigers territory. Plants bend in the force of the wind, said to be created by the tigers mighty roar. But the tigers strength is a quiet power, held in her taut muscles. The dragon, on the other hand, is full of active energy. His head rises out of the yang heavens. His energy causes rain clouds to swirl and waves to form. But the tiger and dragon seem evenly matched. One will not dominate the other, just as the forces of yin and yang balance each other in the universe.
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