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Dragons in Art

  • 2 min read

Happy Chinese New Year to all those celebrating the Year of the Dragon on 23rd – 25th January. 2012 is the year of the Water Dragon. As the dragon is the only mythical creature among the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac it is the most auspicious of the years and is regarded as a symbol of might and intelligence.

To celebrate the year of the dragon we thought we would look at some of our more interesting prints that feature dragons.

Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, and they images can be found on all types of objects throughout history. In ancient China, the dragon was associated with the emperor. In contrast to this western folklore portrays dragons as evil and they are typically depicted as a huge fire-breathing, scaly and horned dinosaur-like creature.

Dragon by Katsushika Hokusai is what you would expect a traditional rendition of an oriental dragon would be like it also has a partner image of the Pheonix. The paring of the Dragon and Phoenix is symbolic of the balance of yin and yang and is also considered symbolic of blissful relations between husband and wife.

High Voltage II by Gajin Fujita as a great example of how he combines Eastern images like the dragon with popular Western urban imagery. He layers the Japanese Ukiyo-e imagery on top of the more traditional graffiti the combines U.S Hip Hop culture and Latino graffiti. Gajin grew up in Los Angeles and his work reflects his Japanese parentage and the LA graffiti culture he grew up in. A rising star with work in both national and private collections let’s hope the dragon brings him luck in 2012.

Dragons are not only present in eastern culture and the Russian abstract painter Kandinsky’s depiction of St.George reflects the folklore of st George and the dragon that is found through Europe.

Other dragon like creatures making and appearance in prints include Kozyndans latest limited edition featuring sea serpents and Trafford Parsons Godzilla Gia.

Chinese New Year or the Chinese Lunar New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. The festival begins on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with the Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day.

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