Hi again Yun
Hi Master Ghost Valley,
Just five more images to make my point:
First Qing dynasty flag, used from 1862 to 1890.
Second Qing dynasty flag, used from 1890 to 1912.
The first ROC flag: "Used mainly in Shanghai and eastern parts of northern China until 1928. This flag was widely flown even before the founding of the Republic of China by Chinese on the eastern coast and garnered the greatest respect at the founding of the ROC. Stripes represent the five great races in China's history, according to Dr. Sun Yat-sen: red for Han Chinese, yellow to represent Manchus, blue as Mongols, white for both Huis and Uyghurs, and black for Tibetans. However, this is likely a convenient explanation after the fact; the flag most likely instead derived from the 5 colors of the Manchurian banner flags, hence its popularity even before the Chinese revolution."
Flags used by Yuan Shikai's brief attempt to found a new imperial dynasty in 1916: "These variations on the initial flag of the Republic of China emphasize Han administration over other ethnicities in China." (same source as above)
Now, let me ask: if the dragon/long was a traditional icon of the Han people, then why did the ROC reject the dragon symbol that the Qing flag used, and instead choose the colour red to symbolize the Han? How easy would it have been for the revolutionaries to remove the dragon from the flag of China in 1912, if the Han people already recognized the dragon as their national or cultural symbol? Even when Yuan Shikai tried to make himself emperor, he didn't try and bring the dragon back.
Conclusion: The dragon/long as a symbol of China is what is known in historical studies as an Invention of Tradition. Such inventions of tradition have happened in many other parts of the world when nationalism became a major influence on the common people and appropriately 'ancient' national symbols were needed for appealing to their sense of identity and pride.
The 5 flags are good and they drive home your point. I do not have an answer for you as to the why question. I do not have enough background on the political or social aspects that must have driven the dismissal of the dragon, but----I have exposure to graphics and design so If I had been asked to make a recommendation for a flag design, the advice would have been : the flag if it is to be used as a flag waving in the wind needs to be of a simple strong design that is easily recognized even when it is rippled an distorted by the wind. Complicated figures like a dragon or lettering are to small for easy recognition. What is needed is a bold distinct attention getter.
The Publication (Flags through the ages and across the world) is a large sized good source our office uses for reference on flags and examples of really affective color and designs related to flags and symbols. A paragraph from the publication "CHINA Finding new meanings and in ancient symbols" : And I quote :
"When one is isolated from other lands- or, as the Chinese saw it, when one lives in the Middle Country-----it is logical to assume that only the miscellaneous peoples of the far corners of the globe must identify themselves. Thus the dragon flag of imperial China although it incorporated an ancient symbol , was never intended to rally the Chinese people or even to represent them". As a national flag it was adopted reluctantly as an appeasement for outsiders ---those "barbarians" ---who having had flags of their own , insisted that the Chinese have one as well" There are a couple of more pages of pretty interesting information following the quote.
An aside ...I guess I could be classified as a modern day " one of those barbarians" and at times like this I wonder myself what am I doing making these kinds of comments here? The answer must be it is interesting and educational -- a couple of pretty good reasons for exchanges between different cultures all done in good spirit, in peace and without other motives.
Master Ghost Valley