The image of the dragon finds itself manifested in many different variations springing from the Chinese culture. The mighty mythical beast has been part of Chinese traditions for many centuries and till today it is taken as an identity forming image for the country.
The dragon with its scaly serpent like body is also one amongst the twelve zodiac signs that make up the Chinese zodiac calendar. In fact it is the only mythical character in the collection with the rest being earthly animals. Over the course of history we find that the dragon has served as a popular theme in various forms of art.
As it is the dragon is a mythical beast hence it takes a great deal of creativity to conceive an image of a beast such as the Chinese dragon. The different mediums through which the Chinese artists have sought to represent the dragon are extensive. Similarly there are many different styles and designs for the image of the dragon which has been used for various purposes.
The collection of Chinese dragon art features amazing calligraphic art that dates back to thousands of years. Calligraphy is a unique form of art that sprung up from China. When combined with the dragon theme you have two of the most unique elements of the Chinese culture which comes across as amazing art work.
The collection of Chinese paintings features the dragon in different settings. The depiction of the dragon in different settings gives a totally different meaning to the composition. Watercolor has been one of the most widely experimented mediums when it comes to painting the image of the dragon. The library of Chinese dragon art also features wall scrolls which is another home décor item unique to China.
The representation of the dragon through various art forms is not restricted to two dimensional surfaces. The Chinese have sculpted some of the most awe inspiring statues of dragons. These statues are most commonly seen in Buddhist temples because the creature holds a special place in the Buddhist dharma.
The Chinese perception of the dragon
There is a big distinction between the way the west conceives the image of the dragon and the Chinese interpretation. For the Chinese the dragon is not a violent and evil creature like it is in the west. Rather it is taken as a symbol of beauty and wisdom. Images of dragons are also used as good luck charms in China. In fact you will find the dragon to be featured on pieces of jewelry that are worn with the belief that they bring you good luck. Hence we find the two cultures to have diametrically opposite views about the image of the dragon.
The non-Chinese observer will only be able to understand and appreciate Chinese dragon art once he realizes the way the Chinese perceive the image of the dragon. It is only then that one will be able to understand why the dragon has been so popular a theme for the artists that worked their ways in different mediums throughout the course of the country’s history.