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Submitted By hiepsilon03
Words 787
Pages 4
30 January 2012
Asian Dragons Vs European Dragons
Whether you live in Vietnam, China, Japan, Scotland, USA or anywhere in the world, you have probably heard of the dragons-the animal of imagination of human. A dragon is a legendary creature, typically with serpentine or reptilian traits, that feature in the myths of many cultures. There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Greek and Middle Eastern mythologies, and the Asian dragon, with counterparts in Japan, Korea and other East Asian countries. Since I was a kid, dragons have always been a mystery and an attraction for me .I have spent a lot of time to study about them and found out that there are three general differences between the dragon from the east and the west which are appearance, symbolism and what they mean to society .
First of all, the easily identifiable difference between an Asian dragon and a European one is the appearance. Asian dragons resemble large snakes. They look like a combination of many animals such as snakes and eagles, and had no wings. For Chinese, each one of its four short legs had five toes while a Japanese dragon has three and a Korean one has four. Even though depicted without wings the Asian dragon is believed to fly. They are often in red and gold. Unlike the Asian, the European typically depicted their dragons as a huge fire-breathing scaly and horned dinosaur-like creature with bat-type wings growing from its back. They have four legs and a long muscular tail. A European dragon-like creature with no front legs is known as a wyvern. Thanks to the differences of the appearance, each dragon has their own prominence and symbolism.
Secondly, there are a contrast of the symbolism between the dragon from the east and the west. Dragon is a symbol of evil in the eyes’ of the Western people, it is aggressive and cold-blooded. John's Book of Revelation—Greek literature—describes Satan as "a great dragon, flaming red, with seven heads and ten horns". Eastern dragons may be seen to represent the dark side of humanity, including greed, lust, and violence, the conquest of a dragon represents the confrontation and extinguishment of those evil instincts. The dragon has also been used as a symbol of war by the Viking. In contrast to European dragons, which are considered evil, Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, hurricane, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of divine, power, immortality, fertility, activity and good fortune and good luck. With this, the Emperor of China usually uses the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power. The contrast of their symbolism leads to the meaning of them to society.
Finally, Dragon plays a role in our spiritual life. In most cases, dragons represent a very positive image in the Eastern culture, particularly in China. It is believed that they can keep people away from evil spirits. They are credited with having great powers that allowed them to make rain and to control floods. . Dragons from the East are used in ceremonies and parades. In Chinese daily language, excellent and outstanding people are compared to the dragon. A number of Chinese proverbs and idioms feature references to the dragon, for example: "Hoping one's son will become a dragon". The Chinese even have a year of the dragon, and it is said that anyone born in this year will be healthy, wealthy, and wise, all of the things which the dragon of the East represents. The year of the dragon is also said to be a very prosperous year for the people of China. While this Eastern story is about the good of turning into a magical dragon, the West has a story of punishment that leaves a man a dragon. In this story a prince kills his father for his fame and fortune. Because of this the dying king puts a curse on his son that he will become a dragon. Later in life this dragon is killed by another of his greedy brothers, who then receives the curse and becomes a dragon as well. Dragon is also described as a monster which kills people and destroy everything and is hated by people. Each society makes its own culture and each culture has its own opinion about this mystery creature.
In conclusion, we have many things that make an Asian dragon different from the European one. It could be that the reason each dragon is different between cultures is because the people had never actually seen one, only heard stories and descriptions of them.

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