(wwl) stories of dragons, part 2
March 6, 2012 § Leave a comment
Back with a bag full of stories. The previous post was about dragons in western cultures. Today it’s going to address dragons in Asia. Of course, everybody perfectly knows that Chinese, Japanese or Corean dragons don’t look at all like European ones. First physical characteristic, they don’t have any wings – but still, they can fly. I suppose most of you, dear readers, know about the Japanese cartoon Dragon Ball Z… there’s a master dragon in there, and he’s the God of the universe.
In Asia, Dragons are also symbols of pure power, but they have always been considered as protective and almighty. They’re a symbol of equilibrium, often represented with the yin-yang. Legends have it that when the sun rises, the great dragon has opened his eyes, and when the sun sets, the dragon god is falling asleep. The dragon was born from the elements, and he is now the master of them all. He can make rain, and so serve agriculture.
Figures of dragons appear everywhere on the walls of the Forbidden City in Beijing. No wonder why: the Chinese emperors used to be called Sons of the Dragon. Why? Because of the figure of power of course. Imperial dragons always have 5 claws. Dragons dedicated to noblemen have 4 or 3. Speaking of claws and dragon body parts, have a look at the picture below and try and guess from which animals the various parts of the body come from.
Shortly before Christ, a Chinese poet described precisely the Asian dragon as we know it today. As an encompassing godly creature, it had to be composed of several parts of all living animals on earth. Of course they’re not all in there, but at least, come can be distinguished. The horns are those of a deer, the hair that of a lion. The face is a camel’s, the body a snake’s, the scale belong to a fish. Dragons have eagle claws, tiger paws, bull’s ears. What else…? I must be forgetting some of them, but you see, it’s already quite impressive.
So ladies and gentlemen, as you can see, dragons in Asia have not much to do with European ones… except for the fact that they represent pure power. Next post will feature the presence of these legendary creatures in contemporary cultures…