Dragons are mythological creatures, which are both beautiful and fearsome. This creature is usually seen in mythological books as a scaly, winged beast, with huge claws and the ability to emit fire from the mouth. Etymologically the dragon comes from two Greek words, namely Drakon and Drakein. Dragon tattoo meanings differs from culture to culture. In the east, tattoos are said to be harbingers of fortune and fertility, on the other hand in the west, dragons are looked at as an incarnation of the evil spirit and destroyer of home and hearth. Dragon tattoos can be found in various tattoo arts, like Celtic dragon tattoo, Japanese dragon tattoo, Chinese dragon tattoo, etc. Dragon tattoos are commonly made on the shoulders, upper arm, chest, lower back, and ankles. Now let’s see the meaning of dragon tattoos in different cultures.
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Dragons are an important part of the Japanese mythology. Actually, dragons in the Japan are a water deity. Hence, often Japanese tattoos are depicted in the clouds. There is a belief in Japan, that the first Emperor of Japan is a descendant of the dragons. Very often, dragon tattoos in Japan are made as a representation of protection of the royal family of Japan. The common characteristics of the Japanese dragon tattoos are that it does not have wings, is serpentine, has a head of a camel, paws of a tiger, claws like an eagle, scales of a carp, long whiskers and can have a jewel below their chin. Japanese dragon tattoos symbolize power, family, protection of home and family and also longevity.
There are different types of Japanese dragon tattoos, which have different meanings. Let’s see what are they.
- Sui-Riu: This is the king dragon. He is said to be the controller of rain.
- Han-Riu: This is the biggest dragon of all and he has stripes on his body.
- Ka-Riu: It is a small dragon, which is red in color.
- Fuku-Riu: The harbinger of luck is the Fuku-Riu dragon.
The dragons in Chinese culture have a masculine nature and are associated with the biggest possible single digit number 9. Chinese dragon tattoos represent intelligence, strength, good luck, health, harmony and benevolence. Like the Japanese tattoos, Chinese tattoos are also associated with rain. The characteristics of the Chinese tattoos are that they have a flaming pearl under their chins, can be shaped to fit, have snake like appearances and have scales all over their body. These dragons are said to possess supernatural powers. Let’s now see the Chinese dragon tattoo symbolism.
- Horned Dragon: The meaning of this tattoo is that the wearer chooses to be mighty, both in his words as well as actions.
- Earth Dragon: This is the ruler of earth and represents a connection with the earth or with land.
- Yellow Dragon: This is a hornless dragon that represents scholarly knowledge.
- Celestial Dragon: This dragon is said to protect the Gods. People who want to confirm their spiritual path or who have strong spiritual beliefs, choose to get these tattoos made.
The characteristics of tribal dragon tattoos is that these tribal tattoos are either surrounded by or composed of the curving lines that are typically associated with tribal tattoos. Hence the dragon tattoos done using the tribal tattoo style are simplified. However, these tattoos do not lose their impact. They are in fact, very large and fierce looking and also deliver a very strong visual impact. The meaning of the tribal dragon tattoo will depend on, which tribal tattoo art is combined with these dragon tattoos.
In the oriental culture, dragons are seen as the defenders and the tiger are said to be the offenders. If a dragon is placed over the tiger, it symbolizes that the wearer of the tattoo will triumph over dark forces and they will continue to defend the same. If a tiger and a dragon are shown wrestling it is representation of the individuals aggressiveness coupled with disregard for others and their property. On the other hand, if the dragon and the tiger are facing off on the same level is said to be the Yin Yang symbol, because opposing forces equal each other out.
Now that you are armed with dragon tattoo meanings, choose a dragon tattoo which suits your personality the best. You can also seek help from the tattoo artist for the same. Remember, it is going to be a permanent imprint on your body, so be sure of the tattoo symbolism and then get it made.