Dragons are one of the most powerful symbols around. They can mean different things in different cultures, and to different people, but they always fascinating. For that reason, many accept dragon symbols in their personal life. Most people want to find a symbol that will intrigue and inspire with its beauty and meaning.
However, there are so many different kinds of dragons, each with their own history and associations.
Dragons have a strong place in the myth and legend of many different cultures, both Eastern and Western. Dragons have meanings.
Read on for a little background on the cultural history of different dragons.
In the West, dragons have often been considered as evil, something which needed to be fought and, often, killed. They tend to be depicted as large and intimidating creatures, breathing fire and flashing their talons. However, they are also sometimes seen as benevolent and protective. The dragon is often a symbol of pagan peoples, with symbolic power struggles taking place between pagan dragons and Christian interlopers.
Some classic Western dragons are:
- The Welsh dragon. A red dragon which adorns the Welsh national flag today, but whose history goes back further. It was also thought to be the battle flag of King Arthur, and a symbol of all Celtic people.
- Greek dragons. The Greek dragons were generally serpent-like, evil creatures who set out to thwart the Gods and forces for good in general.
- The Beowulf dragon. In the famous poem Beowulf, the hero slays the dragon which is guarding the treasure he is seeking.
In the East, most dragons are seen as forces for good, rather than for evil as most Western dragons are. The oldest Eastern dragons come from Chinese culture, and many of their dragon myths have fused with dragon myths from other Eastern cultures, including the Japanese and Indian. They are often closely linked to religion, with both Buddhist and Hindu traditions recognizing dragons and using them in their religious art. Buddhist temples, for example, are often adorned with dragons. Dragons play an important part in ritual and celebration for many people in the East. They are used as symbols of luck, and so come to play a part in many celebrations.
Different colored dragons can mean different things. For example, to the Chinese an Azure dragon represents compassion, and a white dragon virtue.
Chosen your dragon?
As you can see, there are very varied meanings attached to dragons from around the world. When choosing your dragon for your collection, think carefully about why you want it and how you want to depict it.
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