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About Dragons, Sphinxes, Serpents, Griffins and other Mythical Monsters

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winged fire breathing color book dragon

Dragons are winged beings portrayed in the ancient mythologies of most cultures around the world. The legends of dragons tie in with mythologies of winged gods from the heavens who came to Earth to create the human race. Dragons are very important symbols in many cultures today.

What Are Mythical Monsters?

Links to Dragon Websites

Egyptian

Dragon and serpent worship developed in early Egyptian times. The message gradually spread to Babylon, India, the Orient, the Pacific Islands, and finally the North American continent. Dragon worship reached its peak during the days of the Roman empire.

Japanese

The Japanese dragon legend is very similar to the Chinese dragon. The Japanese believe that the dragon originated in Japan. Japanese dragons have only 3 toes. They believe that the dragon has a tendency to travel and the farther it travels, the more toes it grows. The farther it dravels, the more toes it grows until it can no longer walk.

Korean

The Korean dragon legend is similar to the Japanese story of the dragon. They believe that the dragon began in Korea and has always had 4 toes. When the Korean dragon travels East or North, it loses toes. When it travels South or West it gains toes.

Western

The Western dragon appears to be created from parts of various creatures, having eagle's feet and wings, lion's forelimbs and head, fish's scales, antelope's horns and a serpentine form of trunk and tail. The western dragon is supposedly the enemy of the sun and the moon, both in Eastern and Western mythology, and is believed to be responsible for eclipses. Eclipses occur when the dragon is attempting to swallow either the sun or the moon.

Armenian

In Armenian traditions, the fire and lightning god had powers to stay the dragon's control of the heavens, as could thunderbolts in Macedonian myth. Dragons were believed to be the guardians of treasures in burial chambers.

Greek

In Greek legends, the dragon fought with the Titans and attacked Athena, who flung him into the heavens, where he became a constellation around the Pole Star.

African

In parts of Africa the dragon was considered an evil power, the monster was believed to be the result of an unnatural union of an eagle and a she-wolf.

Scandinavia

In Scandinavian literature, Beowulf, a great Scandinavian warrior of the sixth century, was slain by a dragon.

The story of Beowulf, written in the 10th century A.D, exists in only one manuscript.

Chinese

Chinese Dragons symbolize the Chinese people. Chinese people may refer to themselves "Lung Tik Chuan Ren" which means Descendents of the Dragon. Dragons are considered to be divine mythical creatures that bring ultimate abundance, prosperity and good fortune.

Chinese Year of the Dragon

Dragon personality Traits:

  • A Dragon person is self confident, impulsive and consequently does not always listen to the advice of others. A perfectionist who sets high personal standards. Although strong and decisive the Dragon is not manipulative or sly. A Dragon person refuses to deceive or compromise and fails to spot subversive intent. A Dragon person enjoys being in command.
  • Wood: The Wood Dragon is creative, imaginative, and inquisitive. Both a thinker and a doer, is capable of brilliant new concepts. Their every move is guided by logic. Their drive and ambition allow them to put many of their ideas into practice. The Wood Dragon tries not to offend and will compromise if it is advantages. The Wood Dragon is outspoken and fearless when challenged.
  • Fire: The Fire Dragon is extroverted and competitive. This Dragon tends to push hard and expects a lot in return. The Fire Dragon's criticisms are objective and tends to arouse popular support. The Fire Dragon can be short-tempered and intolerant
  • Earth: The Earth Dragon is a quieter, more reflective Dragon, who is appreciative of other's opinions even if they don't agree with them. The Earth Dragon is reasonable and not given to outbursts of temper, but at the same time demands respect. The Earth Dragon knows the value of cooperation and is more diplomatic than the other Dragons
  • Metal: The Metal Dragon is the most strong-willed Dragon. The Metal Dragon is inflexible, unbending and combative and gives little regard to the feelings of others. This ruthlessness can result in a rapid rise to a position of authority, but often at the cost of destroying important relationships. It is futile to attempt to convince The Metal Dragon that certain things are simply undoable. The Metal Dragon refuses to accept failure
  • Water: The Water Dragon is less selfish and opinionated than the other Dragons. The Water Dragon is more inhibited and less power-hungry and can accept defeat without recriminations. The Water Dragon is a good negotiator but has a tendency to be over-optimistic

Types of Chinese Dragons

There are nine types of Chinese dragons.

  1. Horned - The most powerful generalized type of Chinese dragon is the horned dragon, or lung. This dragon can produce rain and is totally deaf.
  2. Winged
  3. Celestial - which supports and protects the mansions of the gods
  4. Spiritual - which generates wind and rain for the benefit of mankind
  5. Dragon of hidden treasures - which keeps guard over concealed wealth
  6. Coiling - which lives in water
  7. Yellow - which once emerged from water and presented the legendary Emperor Fu Shi with the elements of writing
  8. Dragon - which actually consists of four separate dragons, each of which rules over one of the four seas, those of the east, south, west, and north
  9. Homeless (Ii) that lives in the ocean and another type (chiao) that is scale-covered and usually inhabits marshes but also keeps dens in the mountains.

There are also nine ways the Chinese have traditionally represented these dragons, revealing the different dragon characteristics.

Dragon images appear on:

  • Tops of bells and gongs, because of the beast's habit of calling loudly when attacked
  • Screws of fiddles, since most dragons are fond of music
  • Tops of stone tablets, because of dragons' love of literature
  • Bases of stone monuments, as dragons can support heavy weights
  • Eaves of temples, as dragons are ever alert to danger
  • Beams of bridges, since dragons are fond of water
  • Buddha's throne, as dragons like to rest
  • Hilts of swords, since dragons are known to be capable of slaughter
  • Prison gates, as these are dragons that are fond of quarreling and trouble making

The colors of Chinese dragons are variable, except in the case of the chiao which has its back striped with green, its sides yellow, and its belly crimson colored.

The nine major characteristics of a lung type dragon include:

  • a head like a camel
  • horns like a deer
  • eyes like a hare
  • ears like a bull
  • neck like an iguana
  • a belly like a frog
  • scales like a carp
  • paws like a tiger
  • claws like an eagle

It also has a pair of large canine teeth in its upper jaw. The long, tendril-like whiskers extending from either side of its mouth are probably used for feeling its way along the bottom of muddy ponds.

Dragon colors vary from greenish to golden, with a series of alternating short and long spines extending down the back and along the tail.

Some dragons are said to begin life as Carp fish that successfully jump rapids and leap over waterfalls, change into fish-dragons. One popular saying, "The carp has leaped through the dragon's gate," means success.

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