In Chinese mythology, the dragon is a powerful elemental creature that approaches the status of a demi-god. They were responsible for such things as regulating storms and the flow of rivers. They had the ability to change form, fly, change size and other wonderful feats.
Dragons had three to five claws on each hand, with the five-clawed dragon being the symbol of the Emperor. To properly hold a teacup, a writing brush or chopsticks, one needs three fingers. Unlike its European cousin, the Chinese dragon had culture - no sitting in a cave waiting for a knight to attack it, for sure.
Since the dragon is the most spiritual of the five, likewise it develops the most spiritual quality: shen. This is a transcendent energy that comes from the refinement of chi into jing and eventually into shen.