Chinese dragon tattoos and Japanese dragon tattoos are similar to one another but show hardly any resemblance to rest of the world’s view of dragons. The differences in cultural views of dragons are stark in contrast. In Asia, the Dragon is a symbol of prosperity. European culture, however, has often made the dragon the villain. The dragons even look extremely different. Consequently, the dragons mean very different things.
Chinese dragon tattoos and Japanese dragon tattoos are very similar in appearance. Both of these cultures view dragons as serpent like creatures. They have scales, large incisors, and few legs. The number of claws on each foot varies depending on the culture. Traditionally, Japanese dragons have three claws on each foot.
European Dragon tattoos are incredibly different from the Asian perception. These dragons are large, bulky monsters. They resemble dinosaurs in their large, scaly appearances. They too have large teeth. However, European dragons can have multiple, fire-breathing heads. They stand upright and have large wings that they use to fly. There can also be more variation in depictions of European dragons, whereas most Asian dragons are quite similar.
The Meanings of the Dragon
The meanings behind these different dragons are polar opposites. Asian dragons are known to be symbols of prosperity. They are worshipped and begged for guidance and good fortune. European dragons, on the other hand, are the villains in fairytales and legends. They are symbols of evil, fire and destruction. Norse dragon tattoos, for example, would depict the dragon as a negative symbol. In Nordic culture, dragons meant destruction.
Celtic dragon tattoos and Aztec dragon tattoos are more similar to their Chinese and Japanese counterparts. In Celtic mythology, dragons were magic, powerful, wingless creatures. They were known as guardians of wisdom and knowledge who could relate prophecies to the people. Similarly, in Aztec culture, the dragon is serpent-like and possesses wisdom. The symbol of the dragon or serpent with a head at each end represents the balance of good and evil.
Korean dragon tattoos also show their ties to Chinese and Japanese tradition. These tattoos are difficult to distinguish from other Asian dragon tattoos as they are all quite similar. Uniquely, in Korean culture, dragons were known to be understanding to human emotions.
As usual, America is a melting pot of cultures. American dragon tattoos do not possess a distinct style of their own. Rather, dragons tattooed in America can be Asian or European. They often represent the power of the dragon, regardless of the culture.
The design possibilities of dragon tattoos are endless. Dragons can be abstracted and shown with patterns and bold markings. European dragons are often depicted quite realistically. Similarly, Asian dragons are can be tattooed in bold, bright colors and intricate details. Dragon tattoos can just as easily be in black and white, however. Women often accompany these tattoos with flowers. Cherry blossoms are a popular compliment to Asian dragon tattoos.
The dragons are usually depicted to be fierce and powerful. The tattoos accentuate their elongated bodies with curves, and highlight their teeth and eyes. Shadowing can make these tattoos come to live with fearsome fury.
If you are considering a dragon tattoo, there are plenty of references out there to look at. You can find the right dragon just for you. They’re mythical creatures, so they are malleable to your imagination. Whether you want their good luck or their power, their bold appearance is sure to stand out. Chinese dragon tattoos and Japanese dragon tattoos are beautiful pieces of history and fantasy coexisting in harmony.
Unleash your inner dragon with a dragon tattoo!