On a Blue Dragon Symbolism

Buddhism water dragon symbols

Japanese dragon symbols are very similar to Chinese dragons except the Japanese dragon has only three toes or claws while the royal Chinese dragon has five claws and the common dragon has four.

Two types of Japanese Dragons

There are two basic types of Japanese dragons. One is found in the sky or clouds. The other is found in bodies of water or rain. Dragons are believed to control rain, fire and the earth.

It's believed that the dragon originated in Japan with only three toes and as it migrated North, it gained another toe. It finally traveled far north where it received its fifth and final additional toe or claw.

Different Japanese Words for Dragon

In the Japanese language there are quite a few words for dragons. Two of the most popular words are ryu and tatsu, the latter is taken from an old Japanese dialect which translates in English to mean "sign of the dragon". Kanji is modern Japanese for dragon.

Yin and Yang of Dragons

Dragons are the embodiment of yin and yang. The Japanese dragons as with most Asian dragons are slender and long like a snake and are a composite of nine different animals with chin whiskers.

  • Deer - Horns
  • Camel - Head
  • Rabbit - Eyes
  • Snake - Neck
  • Cockle - Abdomen
  • Carp - Scales
  • Eagle - Claws
  • Tiger - Paws
  • Ox - Ears

Depictions of dragons are used throughout the Japanese culture as symbols of strength, courage and magic. Unlike the dragons found in Western mythology, Asian dragons don't have wings but most can fly. Asian dragons can fly due to a knot on top of its head called Chi'ih muh which magically enables it to fly. Some dragons can also live underneath the water and were believed to reside in large bodies of water such as lakes and oceans.

Dragons: Buddhist Temples and Shinto Shrines

You'll find plenty of dragon symbols in Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, especially those located near bodies of water. It's very common for temple and shrine names to contain the word dragon in them. Dragon motifs and paintings adorn temples and shrines. Many of the ceilings have painted murals depicting various dragons. Dragon heads often adorn bells and other objects.

Tattoos of Japanese Dragons

Japanese dragons are also used in a wide variety of stylistic depictions found in historic and modern tattoos. If you're thinking about getting a dragon tattoo, you'll want to take the time to study various designs that represent the dragonlike strengths and traits you possess or wish to draw to you. There are many color combinations available for these detailed designs. The Japanese believed that if they had a dragon tattoo it would imbue them with its power and magic.

Dragons and Gods

Japanese dragons are tied directly to deities. Many of the Japanese gods shape-shifted into dragons. Japanese mythology has an abundance of stories about gods and dragons.

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