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Different Art in Mythology

Page history last edited by Matthew Zaetz 9 years, 7 months ago

Same creature, Different Interpretation


     This art project focuses on the aspect of how the same mythological creatures are interpreted in different ways in old depictions of them.  In European mythology, there were several ways they were depicted in different cultures, both artistically and backstory wise.  For the sake of focus, were going to look at one of the most well knownHere are an example of very old European depictions of dragons.


Western Culture Dragons





Although many cultures had many small variances in the interpretation of dragons in myth, they eventually boiled down to 2 different main depictions of dragons, and one central idea. The first type of dragon is the one most are familiar with.  The official name for this kind of dragon is the Dragon of Wales(the city not the giant ocean animal).  An example of this classic interpretation of a dragon is this 

Western Dragon Pictures















This dragon is a gigantic lizard with a long neck and long tail and has 4 feet with sharp claws, with large wide wings on its back that allow it to fly.  They can breath fire from their mouths and can be as large as 20 to 50 feet long, although some art depict them as even larger.  The second type of dragon is called a Wyvern.  Like the Dragon of Wales, Wyvern's were large, scaled lizards that breathed fire.  One big difference was, instead of two front legs, it had two arms that spread out two enormous wings like a cave bat, and it did not have wings on its actual back. 


In almost all Western Mythology, Dragons are evil by nature.  They live in the sides of mountains, and cause terror and devastation.  They are supposedly very intelligent and some can even speak.  And in some rare occasions, Dragons will help weary travelers, or be assigned duties such as guarding treasure troves or guarding sacred land.



Eastern Culture Dragons


The Eastern interpretation of Dragons is very different, even though the legend is basically about the .  While both Western Dragons and Eastern Dragons are both depicted as giant, flying, lizard-like creatures of magic, Eastern Dragons are interpreted as far more mystical and sometimes even god-like.  Many Eastern dragons are depicted like this.


File:Hokusai Dragon.jpg


They had four small legs across their gigantic, long body, more akin to the shape of a snake then a lizard.  Unlike most Western Dragons, these dragons almost never had wings, although they could fly through the sky regardless.  They were said to be able to fly through the sky as if it was swimming through air.  Most dragons in Eastern Mythology did not breath fire.  They could manipulate the weather and were near god-like in age and power, although admittedly smaller then some Western dragons.  Also very different from Western Dragons, they were more wise then cruel, but infuriated, they could send storms and floods upon the earth.  And instead of huddled near mountains, they often lived near the sea, sometimes even in the sea, as they were could live in both sea and sky.  While their basic features and attributes are the same, the artistic interpretation of Eastern dragons and Western dragons couldn't be any more different, possibly even opposite at times.


Works cited:




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