Monday, April 16, 2007

Japanese Dragons

The above painting was created by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

The above painting was created by Utagawa Kunisada II from 1860. It shows the Buddha riding on the back of a giant sea dragon.

Above is a depiction of the Yamata no Orochi, a beast described as one of the first dragon like creatures to be found in Japanese mythology.

Nakabayashi Chikuto

The two works above are hanging scrolls made from ink on silk and are dated from the Japanese Edo period. See details here and here.
Many more Japanese and Chinese ink paintings of dragons can be found here.

Katsushika Hokusai

See more of Housai's dragons here, here and here.

"Dragon appearing to a lady" Color Woodcut - artist unknown

Dragon in bamboo from The itcho picture album: a selection of playful sketches, 1770.

"A Japanese dragon, also known as ryū or tatsu (竜 or 龍, "dragon") is a legendary creature from Japan. Like other creatures referred to as dragons, the ryū is a large, fantastic, serpent-like being, and is closely related to the Chinese lóng and the Korean yong. Like these it is usually depicted as a wingless, heavily-scaled snake-like creature with small clawed legs and a horned or antlered mammalian head, and is associated with large bodies of water, clouds or the heavens. The ryū in art can generally be distinguished from other East-Asian dragons in that it has only three toes, rather than the lóng's five or the yong's four.

Dragons in later Japanese folklore were often much more benign, perhaps because of a heavy influence from China. They appear in famous tales such as My Lord Bag of Rice, in which a hero must kill a giant centipede which is devouring the children of the dragon king of Lake Biwa. In Urashima Tarō, the title character rescues a turtle which turns out to be the daughter of Ryūjin, the dragon king of the ocean." - quote from here.

See more Japanese dragons here.
A few more examples of Japanese dragons can be found near the bottom of this page dedicated to imaginary creatures from Japan.

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