Dragon Culture

Dragons, powerful and mystical creatures of lore. Various cultures from around the world depict dragons in a variety of ways, this gallery showcases some of the different cultural dragons of the world.

This Middle Eastern drawing of a dragon tearing through the woods is indeed an ominous scene. Different from the majority of “dragon” artwork I looked at while putting together this gallery, this is the one that shows a dragon enraged or on a rampage. The dragon seems on a mission, angry, forward moving decimating anything in its path. The flames around the dragon lend to its perceived destructive power.
This Ethiopian painting depicts St Michael killing a dragon. He seems to be saving someone from the dragon similar to the St George story. There is also a pack of witnesses to the killing. I’m also a bit surprised to see a Christian figure in a Ethiopian painting in the 1800s. St Michael is throwing spears at the dragon, one has hit the dragon in the mouth and blood is spurting forth, it is a more violent interpretation of the death of a dragon than most of the St George works.
St Margaret and the Dragon is a French work. It looks as though it was pulled straight out of a book. St Margaret looks to be sitting on the dragon while she prays. The intricate ivy and flowers that border the writing draw your eyes right into the center of the work. The dragon itself looks as though it might be in pain with its mouth agape and tongue sticking out.
Medical Dragon is a Korean work of art. It depicts a doctor/medicine man pulling whiskers from the dragon while sitting beside a pot over a fire. A tiger pokes its head out from around the tree as if waiting its turn and a man leans on his horse. It speaks to me that the belief surrounding the painting is that dragon whiskers had some sort of healing powers.
This is a creepy little Italian dragon sculpture. It appears to me that this small boy is trying to pull the bottom jaw off a dragon. You can see the concentration on the boys face, even feeling him focusing his strength on the task at hand. The dragon seems in pain as the boy sits atop him and pulls at his lower jaw. This is yet another artwork that shows man’s perceived power over the dragon.
This is a Chinese hand axe made of jade and stone. The only weapon I found in this collection that depicted a dragon. What separates this from the other pieces in my gallery is that instead of a dragon showing its power, people killing a dragon, or even a dragon being used as medicine; this shows how man can use a dragon as tool of violence for his own means.
This French vase looks like something flowering or growing up from the rocks and blooming. The dragon coming up from the bottom seems to be moving “up” the vase as if pursuing something. The elegant curves of this piece give the impression of a ballroom dancer; arms stretched, dress flowing at her feet. This, to me, is the most beautiful piece in my gallery.
In this head sculpture from Afghanistan dragons are shown coming around the side of the crown/headpiece the man in the sculpture is wearing. A crown of dragons would make this person important indeed, but that is betrayed by the downward stare of the man himself. A stare like that brings to mind reverence or respect for someone or something other that oneself. I wonder what he was averting his gaze from?
This Greek sculpture is from 140 BC. It depicts many people standing around with a dragon on one side of the sculpture. With the dragon being on far left side of the work, it seems to me that the people are waiting in line for an audience with the dragon, perhaps to leave an offering or ask for a blessing. What surprises me about this piece is that in all the Greek mythology I learned about as child, I don’t remember hearing anything about dragons.
Here a an English depiction of St George slaying a dragon. In this we see St George kill the dragon with his sword, saving the woman to the right. While it is not quite as graphic as the Ethiopian St Michael killing a dragon, it is still fairly violent. Differing from the afore mentioned artwork, there are no witness to this slaying, save the damsel in distress of course.
Credits: All media
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