Dragon Tattoos and Tattoo Designs

The history meaning and mythology of the Dragon Tattoo.

Whether born of fantasy, myth, misinterpretation, or a little of each, the dragon is a mysterious creature in the history and tradition of nearly all cultures since the beginning of time. The dragon tattoo design makes a unique and powerful personal statement for the individual who chooses it for self-expression in body art. Do you picture yourself with a dragon tattoo? If so, here are some things to consider when you choosing the right design for you.

monster, powerful, horror, wing

tribal, dragon, feminine, wings


Why are Dragon Tattoo Designs so Popular

Dragons are a classic choice for a tattoo design. They are more popular then many other mythological creatures including mermaid tattoos, gryphon tattoos and fairy tattoos. Dragons are depicted as powerful and free. Their legend is always cloaked in magic and mystery. They come from the tops of Japanese mountains and the bottom of the deepest oceans. Dragons are usually portrayed as highly intelligent and evolved creatures. Because of their ferocious appeal, dragons have been depicted by artists throughout history in a wide variety of forms. Today's tattoo designers and illustrators have taken the art of the dragon to amazing new levels. Whether you want a traditional dragon tattoo or one with a cutting edge modern look you will find an incredible gallery of amazing images to choose from. Tattoo artists have paid special attention to creating images of dragons because they look great on the skin. In color or in black and white, dragons can wrap around the body and flatter the contours of the body. Dragons can be depicted as tribal, Celtic or jade designs. Etched in black, red or blue a tribal dragon is a strong bold image. When designed carefully, a Celtic dragon adds distinct touch to any tattoo collection. A dragon tattoo design can go from one part of the body to another for a unifying effect on a large body design. Elaborate, bestial, beautiful or bizarre, the dragon tattoo may appear with wings or without, fire-breathing or not. For those of you who hear the dragon tattoo beckon, their diversity in form offers up a unique selection that will continue to inspire.

tribal, dragon, red, dragons

blossoms, leaf, floral, pretty

blossoms, leaf, floral, pretty

The History of the Dragon in mythology and design.

The word Dragon is derived from the Greek drakon and is connected to derkomai, indicating it is a seeing serpent with a gaze like lightning. The English term, drake or fire drake comes from the Anglo Saxon draca, or the Latin draco, which is similar to the flying dragon.

The many depictions of dragons is incredibly diverse and complex. No other creature in mythology has appeared in so many cultures from such remote parts of the world. While many of us conjure up a terrifying beast when envisioning a dragon, the Oriental or Asian dragon is depicted as a graceful, flowing beast, as it glides effortlessly through the air. The Chinese dragon is rendered as a long and serpent-like creature without wings. They are seen as ancient and intelligent creatures. European and medieval dragons have a more ferocious and primitive appearance. They often look more lizard-like with long tails and wings. While they to are often seen as intelligent creatures, they sometimes can be portrayed as mindless brutes. Talons, fangs, fire, scaled skins, and red eyes are typical of the dragon images we see in art and have come to imagine.

tribal, lower back, arm band, beast

tribal, dragon, arm band, wings

tribal, dragon, shoulder piece

Dragon Symbolism, Mythology & Folklore

Dragons hold a special place in all of mythology and folklore. These enchanted creatures sit at the top of the food chain and have inspired many different meanings and myths.

Dragons as Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer. The Australian Aboriginal ‘Rainbow Serpent’ has appeared in art as far back as 6000 years. Attributed with the creation of the earth from the void and the human creation, ‘Rainbow Serpent’ continues to play a role in Aboriginal culture and art. Aido-Hwedo, the African creator ‘snake’ purportedly created the rivers and streams with his serpentine coils, and the mountain peaks with his excrement. Numerous other dragons are present in creation lore and have inspired writers, artists and travelers from Leonardo Da Vinci to Marco Polo. The dragon is credited with the creation, maintenance, and the destruction of the earth. War and pestilence are familiar territory for the dragon.

Dragons as Sentinel and Protector. Dragons are associated with the dead in Scandinavian myth and in England, they were believed to have guarded over graves. In the West, dragons were viewed as fire-breathing sentinels who guarded treasure, and their fiery red eyes were said to reflect those treasures.

Dragons as Divine, Spiritual and Mystical. Revered by many, despised and feared by others, the dragon was said to exist some place between the demon and the Devil in the Christian faith, but in the East, the dragon was a benevolent son of heaven, and controlled the elements of air, water and fire.

dragon, wings, black, tail

tribal, dragon, circle, circular

dragon, wings, fantasy, dragons

Dragons as Bringers of death with Fiery Tempers. Dragons are frequently portrayed as bringers of death. The black dragon Nidhog (corpse-tearer) had an impact on that judgment. Said to bring destruction through their fiery tempers, immense size, and magical abilities, dragons are allegedly accountable for many tragedies at sea and on land.

Dragons as Rulers of the Elements. With power over fire, rain, and the earth, as well as enemy of the sun and moon, dragons have strong ties to each of the elements. In China, four main Dragon-like beings or Lun-Wang dragons were believed to live in a Crystal Palace in one of the universal seas. Thought to bring rain, even flooding upon the land by both the Chinese and the Norse, many myths represent the dragon near water and forested areas. In both Eastern and Western mythology, the dragon is believed to be responsible for eclipses.

Dragon tattoos can represent greed. The dragons have been noted as the king of bringing out the worst in humankind’s nature, in particular greed. Dragons are known for hoarding wealth and often will capture a beautiful maiden.

Dragon Tattoo Designs Representing Physical Prowess and Protection. In Greek mythology, the dragon protects the spring of Ares (god of war). The first emperor of China, Shi Huangdi, took the dragon as an emblem of his power. Some believed dragons to be the ancestors of ancient emperors.

dragon, animal, horror, monsters

tribal, dragon, black, claw

dragon, horror, monsters, creatures

These are but a few of the hundreds of mythological sightings and significations of the dragon tattoo design. In short, dragons never die. They live on in our myths from one culture and generation to the next, leaving intrigue in their wake. From the underwater Loch Ness Monster to the serpentine entity ‘Charlie,’ spotted from time to time in the Payette Lakes of North Idaho, there continue to be hundreds of miscellaneous sightings of strange dragon-like creatures throughout the world. Real or imagined, there is no denying their impact!

The choice for a dragon tattoo makes a particularly powerful personal statement, and the choices in design are rich with diversity. Whether depicted in black and white or boldly emblazoned with color, the dragon tattoo can serve as guardian or destroyer and will likely never lose appeal.

monster, powerful, wing, mythology

monster, oriental, powerful, mythology

teeth, monster, oriental, tailbone

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