Thursday, July 3, 2014

World of Dragons

imageGiant dragon statues surrounded by the sea at Surabaya, Indonesia : Sanggar Agung Temple. 

     " A Dragon is a legendary creature, typically with serpentine or reptilian traits, that features in the myths of many cultures. "

There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the European Dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Greek and Middle Eastern mythologies, and the Chinese Dragon, with counterparts in Japan, Korea and other East Asian countries.

                       *  japanese Dragon

The Dragon is a legendary creature with serpentine or otherwise reptilian traits that features in the myths of many cultures. Dragons are usually shown in modern times with a body like a huge lizard, or a snake with two pairs of lizard-type legs, and able to emit fire from their mouths. The European dragon has bat-type wings growing from its back. 

         * This Drawing Pic is a Legendary-Dragon in European Dragon Style that have bat type wings and emit fire from their mouths.

The two traditions may have evolved separately, but have influenced each other to a certain extent, particularly with the cross-cultural contact of recent centuries. The English word "Dragon" derives from Greek δράκων (drákōn), "dragon, Water-Snake,and Serpent of huge size like King of Nagas (Naga)."

          * These photos above are King of Nagas (Nagas) from Thailand. It's similar to the Dragon.

Dragons are usually shown in present times with a body like a huge lizard, or a snake with two pairs of lizard-type legs, and able to emit fire from their mouths. 

Although dragons occur in many legends around the world, different cultures have variety stories about monsters that have been grouped together under the dragon label. Some dragons are said to breathe fire or to be poisonous, such as in the Old English poem Beowulf.

They are commonly portrayed as serpentine or reptilian, hatching from eggs and possessing typically scaly or feathered bodies. They are sometimes portrayed as hoarding treasure. Some myths portray them with a row of dorsal spines. European dragons are more often winged, while Chinese dragons resemble large snakes. Dragons can have a variable number of legs: none, two, four, or more when it comes to early European literature.

Dragons are often held to have major spiritual significance in various religions and cultures around the world. In many Asian cultures dragons were, and in some cultures still are, revered as representative of the primal forces of nature, religion and the universe. They are associated with wisdom—often said to be wiser than humans—and longevity. 

They are commonly said to possess some form of magic or other supernatural power, and are often associated with wells, rain, and rivers. In some cultures, they are also said to be capable of human speech. In some traditions dragons are said to have taught humans to talk.

  * This Photo is the Dragon sculpture on top of Longshan Temple, Taipei, Taiwan.

In East Asia, the concept of dragon appears largely in a form of a Long, a beneficent dragon-like creature from Chinese folklore. Another dragon-like creature which appears in the form of Naga, which is prevalent in some Southeast Asian countries with more direct influence from Vedic religion, will be described largely in the article Naga.

Chinese Dragon form comes from stylized depictions of existing animals, such as snakes and crocodiles.

            * Carved imperial Chinese dragons at Nine-Dragon Wall, Beihai Park, Beijing

Chinese Dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology and Chinese folklore. The dragons have many animal-like forms such as Fish, turtles, and imaginary creatures, but they are most commonly depicted as snake-like with four legs – In yin and yang terminology, a dragon is yang and complements a yin "Fenghuang".

Chinese Dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, hurricane, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, good luck, and strength for people who are worthy of it. With this, the Emperor of China usually used the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power and strength!

' A number of Chinese proverbs feature references to a 'dragon', for example:-
     "Hoping one's son will become a dragon" (望子成龍, i.e. be as a "Dragon").'

Related Photography about Dragons

           * The C-shaped jade totem of Hongshan culture "dragon shape"

           * Gilded-bronze handle in the shape of a dragon's head and neck, made during the Eastern Han period.

           * Symbols of dragons were placed in tombs as means to get to heaven. The Walters Art Museum.

Sinologist Henri Doré lists these characteristics of dragon:- "The head of a crocodile. A demon's eyes. The neck of a snake. The antlers of a deer. A hawk's claws. A tortoise's viscera. The palms of a tiger. A cow's ears, and it hears through its horns, its ears being deprived of all power of hearing." and others state it has a rabbit's eyes, a frog's belly, a carp's scales." The anatomy of other legendary creatures, including the chimera and manticore, is similarly amalgamated from fierce animals.

             * The Dragon is 1 of 12 in Chinese Zodiac Signs (* photo source : Chinese Zodiac Signs Silver Bracelet 925 *)

              *The Dragon is 1 of 12 in Chinese Zodiac Signs.

Dragon in Chinese Zodiacs
The Dragon is one of the 12 animals in the 'Chinese Zodiac Signs' which is used to designate "Years in the Chinese Calendar". It is thought that each animal is associated with certain personality traits. Dragon years are usually the most popular to have babies. There are more babies born in Dragon years than in any other animal years of the zodiac.

                * King of Nagas (Nagas) is similar to the Dragon (*source : King of Nagas Silver 925*)

Dragons and Nagas
In many Buddhist countries, the concept of the "Nagas" has been merged with local traditions of great and wise serpents or dragons, as depicted in this stairway image of a multi-headed nāga emerging from the mouth of a Makara in the style of a Chinese Dragon at Phra Maha Chedi Chai Mongkol on the premises of 'Wat Pha Namthip Thep Prasit Vararam' in Thailand's Roi Et Province and the another famous type of Buddha Image from Thailand that is called "Nak Prok" also has the Seven Nagas (King of Nagas) over the head of the Buddha Image.

               'Nak Prok' Thai Buddha Image have 7 Nagas that look like the Dragon on the head. (* photo : eBay *)

Dragons vs.Tigers
The tiger is considered to be the eternal rival to the dragon, thus various artworks depict a dragon and tiger fighting an epic battle. A well used Chinese idiom to describe equal rivals and it often to used in sports nowadays is "Dragon versus Tiger". In Chinese martial arts, "Dragon style" is used to describe styles of fighting based more on understanding movement, while "Tiger style" is based on brute strength and memorization of techniques.