The dragon is a very common visual at the Temple of Heaven. They encircle the main altars while doubling as water spouts. In Chinese mythology, the dragon (lóng or lung) was the omnipotent ruler over water and rainfall. More importantly, the dragon represented ultimate strength – yang or masculine superiority. This symbolized the emperor’s imperial power as the Son of Heaven. You will often see dragon images at other major structures plus on flags and thrones used during the Ming and Qing dynasties.