Sunday, January 19, 2014

Decorative handmade ceramic dragon tile set
 Trying to identify the dragon of myth and legend is a virtually impossible task, as they have taken so many forms in various cultures during many time periods. They appear in the mythologies of Greece, Rome, other parts of Europe, Africa, the near east, in China, Japan, pre-Columbian America and the Pacific Islands Later they became an essential feature in tales of European chivalry. Many of these fearsome beasts were clearly composites, made up of combinations of known animals. A classical European dragon would typically have a snake like body, claws like a lion and bats wings. Others were more clearly serpentine with embellishments. The word dragon comes from the Greek drakon, meaning serpent or great worm. Many early reports of dragon sightings occurring in distant lands were almost certainly giant snakes such as the Indian Python. In the Bible the dragon was the serpent of evil, which explains why the mythical beast had ever after to be sought out and killed as a simple matter of duty by Knights and local heroes.  Although the dragons’ most typical form seemed to be derived from a variety of animals, it is also likely that some of them came from the distorted reports brought back by venturesome travelers of actual living beasts. Animals such as Crocodiles and monitor lizards that were rarely seen outside of Africa and the Komodo dragon of Indonesia may have been suitable subjects for a story teller to work with. One rather intriguing behavior of lizards and snakes of all sizes is that they constantly flick their often bright red, forked tongues in and out to test the air. To the more fancifully inclined, observed from a respectful distance this could very well look like a flickering flame, possibly sparking the origin of the mythical dragons fire breathing aspect.


  1. This is the kind of tile work that I would love to have in my home. Having something like this for my fireplace would look beautiful. The handmade dragon tile looks amazing and would be perfect for any fireplace really.

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