Ao Kuang (Chinese 敖廣/敖光, often also Ao Kuang) is the supreme dragon deity in Chinese mythology and the dragon king of the eastern sea. At the same time, he is a water deity and responsible for rain. Ao Kuang is a character in the two Chinese novels Journey to the West and Fengshen Yanyi. His brother is Ao Jun, the Dragon King of the Western Sea.
According to one legend, Ao Kuang's undersea crystal palace served as a model for the works of Lu Pan, the patron deity of craftsmen and inventor of numerous constructions, to whom famous dragon effigies are said to date back.
When there was a great drought in the Shang Dynasty, local residents made offerings of food to the Dragon King Ao Kuang so that Ao Kuang would make it rain again. However, the Dragon King demanded a boy and a girl as offerings every day instead.
One day, when the deity Ne Zha, also known as The Third Lotus Prince, was washing on the shore of the eastern waters, he tried his hand at his new weapon, the Cosmic Wheel, inadvertently causing a great commotion in the sea. Angered, Ao Kuang sent his general Li Gen to bring the "culprit" to justice. After a fight between Ne Zha and Li Gen, the latter was finally struck down.
The Dragon King then sent his third son Ao Bing, who was also killed by Ne Zha in a fierce battle. Thereupon, Ao Kuang threatened to flood cities with a deluge and demanded compensation from the Jade Emperor and Ne Zha's family. In order to save the lives of many, Ne Zha eventually sacrificed himself.
Ao Kuang is also a character in the famous Chinese novel The Journey to the West. When the Monkey King Sun Wukong was searching for a powerful weapon, he learned of a powerful weapon in the palace of the Dragon King Ao Guang. Once there, Sun Wukong asked Ao Kuang for weapons that were equal to his abilities.
After no weapon in the treasury was good enough for him, he took a huge special iron pillar in Ao Kuang's palace that no one else could lift, called Ruyi Jingu Bang. This pillar was placed a long time before by Da Yu, with which he tamed a great flood.
In the hands of the Monkey King, the huge pillar turned into a handy staff, which he carried with him from then on as his weapon, the size of which he could change at will. Triumphant, he left the outwitted Ao Kuang in his palace.