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dragon art

Dragon art is a very wide subject, especially because the dragon as a central theme of art has not been restricted to any one area of the world. Although japanese dragon art and Chinese images of dragons are very well-known and recognized through the world, dragons have also been depicted in early European and Indian art.

The dragon is still a powerful theme in artist imagery today. This fact becomes apparent by the vast array of dragon art tattoos that are common in society. Dragon tattoo art, like any dragon art is complicated. Although simpler images of the dragon are also available in dragon cartoons and dragon clip art, typically a dragon figure is a complicated figure to draw and requires knowledge of history as well as artistic talent to create. Dragon art galleries are valuable sources of such information and facts.

To understand a brief history of dragon art, you must start in ancient Egypt. Here, the figure of a snake was embellished to create the image of a dragon. According to sources on Egyptian mythology, the Egyptian Sun God Ra encountered dragons in the underworld. Rather, he was said to have encountered reptilian creatures which, when described, create the image of a dragon. The theme of such dragon-snake creatures is seen through various chapters of Egyptian mythology. Such snake-dragon creatures were also visible in ancient Indian dragon art. Dragons in India were also associated with magical powers like the power to cause droughts and floods. The similar belief system about dragons, though different imagery can be seen in oriental cultures.

It is no secret that Asian cultures have revered and been in awe of dragon-like creatures since ancient times as well. Asian dragon art may have had its roots in ancient China. Chinese dragons are revered and worshipped in that culture. Like in India, Chinese dragons were also associated with magical powers and were believed to control nature. The Chinese Lung dragon was believed to be good and has associations with rainfall (the boon of farmers). Certain dragons, in China however, were associated with storms and torrents. Other dragons, like the Azure Dragons became symbols of spring. This ancient oriental imagery is also common in Japan and Korea. 

European dragon imagery probably has its root in Egyptian mythology. This can be observed by the fact that the word dragon even evolved from the Greek word drakkon which referred to large snakes. The difference between how the dragon is portrayed in the East and the West becomes clear in Greek mythological tales. In these stories, dragons were almost always portrayed as menaces.

In the Middle East and Arabian countries, the dragon was believed to cause eclipses. There are stories, in Arabian culture that speak of a dragon ‘swallowing’ the moon or the sun. The image of fire-breathing dragons that very responsible for destruction may have its roots in Christianity. Christian mythology and tales always portrayed serpents as evil, right from the familiar story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Author ~ Anjana Vaswani

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