The dragon, of all mythological beings is universal. It appears in legends and tales on the major continents. There are European, African, North American and Asian variations on record. Within the different cultures, they have come to symbolize different aspects, aspirations and elements. It is important to recognize the different types of if planning to get dragon tattoos.
European Dragons are generally described as being associated with Earth and Fire. They are guardians of buried treasure and tend to be beings of a malevolent nature. European dragons, proper, are winged and clawed animals. They breathe fire and have few weaknesses. Yet, some Western versions also are associated with Royalty. This is particularly true of the Welsh ones.
Tales directly connect the legendary King Arthur with dragons. One story relates of two dragons fighting eternally resulting in the destruction of a castle until Merlin solves the problem for Uther Pendragon, Arthur’s father. The red dragon has long since come to signify Wales, the country.
In China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam, the symbolism of dragons is very different. These are wingless creatures. Moreover, oriental dragons are associated with water. The rivers and lakes are the abodes of the Dragon Kings. They are also the creators of water. They breathe mist instead of fire. Moreover, they are a benevolent force. The Four Dragon Kings are allies of humankind. If it was not for their intervention, the world and all its inhabitants would have died from drought.
Dragons are also symbolic of royalty. Certain ones were Imperial Dragons. In China, they were golden in color and had five claws. All others have fewer claws. This includes dragons in Japan and Vietnam where the people, not the imperial class, claimed to be the children.
The dragon is the only mythical animal featured in the twelve animals of the Oriental Zodiac. The other eleven are very real and include the tiger, rat, hare and pig. An individual born in the year of the dragon is credited with being strong, healthy, wealthy and possessing a long life. Dragons are idealists, flamboyant and flexible. This is one reason why tattoos of them are popular.
Whether you select western or eastern, be sure the selected dragon tattoos reflect your intent. Be aware that they are a symbol of power. If the preferred designs for tattoos are Chinese in design, understand that there are approximately 9 different types. Consider the following design options:
• Horned Dragons are very powerful and can produce rain
• Celestial are spiritual protection
• Earth have associations with the Empress and rule Mother Earth
• Treasure Dragons live deep within the Earth and are responsible for earthquakes
• River and Lake Dragons cause floods and the waters to fall
The colors found in your tattoos may reflect specific characteristics. Dragon tattoos featuring the yellow dragon, symbolizing intelligence and scholarly knowledge, are a popular choice. Red versions are often associated with fierce tempers and hidden treasure.
Dragon tattoos are symbols of power, courage, strength and even learning. The color and the type influence the characteristics you wish to portray. Always be sure to know what design you wish before having them on any part of your body.