Dragon show from Japan
KNOW & GO
WHAT: Kodo Arts Japanese Warehouse Show.
WHEN: Sept. 30 through Oct. 8, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
WHERE: 571 Searls Ave, Nevada City.
INFO: Call 530-478-0812 or visit kodo-arts.com.
Kodo Arts Japanese antiques will be featuring a variety of dragons including dragon wood carvings, dragon art, dragon bronze garden water spouts at its upcoming Kodo Arts Warehouse Show and Sale Sept. 30 through Oct. 8.
The dragon has a rich place in Japanese culture symbolizing strength and resilience.
God of Fire Fighters — Dragon Tattoos
Perhaps the most ubiquitous of all Japanese mythological beasts tattooed in the West is the dragon.
The dragon has the head of a camel, horns of a deer, eyes of a hare, scales of a carp, paws of a tiger, and claws resembling those of an eagle. In addition it has whiskers.
The breath of the dragon changes into clouds from which come either rain or fire. It is able to expand or contract its body, and in addition it has the power of transformation and invisibility.
Dragons are clearly very alluring creatures, and it is as common to see a tattoo of a dragon in Britain as it is in Japan. Because the dragon can live in both air and water, it is believed to offer protection from fire.
For this reason it was often chosen by Edo-period fire fighters who tattooed themselves superstitiously for protection in their work.
The most familiar type of Japanese dragon is the Tatsu or Ryu, which is a descendant of a primitive three-toed variety of Chinese dragon. Japanese dragons are traditionally associated more with the sea than rain. The dragon rules water.
There is a story of how Ryu (or Ryu-jin, the most well-known dragon in Japanese legend) summons a storm by howls, and then transforms into a tornado.
The tornado is called “Tatsu-maki” in Japanese. Tatsu is the kanji (Japanese calligraphy) meaning “dragon.” Maki means “roll.” This is because Japan is less vulnerable to drought-related disasters as compared to China.
Therefore they didn’t feel the same need to pray to rain-releasing dragons. The dragon originated from Buddhist religion and is one of the four divine beasts from Japanese mythology (the other three being the phoenix, turtle and kirin.
Kirin is the Japanese unicorn. In both China and Japan, the character for “dragon” is used often in temple names, and dragon carvings adorn many temple structures. Most Japanese Zen temples, moreover, have a dragon painted on the ceiling of their assembly halls.
The carp who became a dragon
The carp transforming into a dragon is a common artistic theme from old China.
This theme is based on a Chinese legend wherein carp swim, against all odds, up a waterfall known as the “Dragon Gate” at the headwaters of China’s Yellow River.
The gods are very impressed by the feat, and reward the few successful carp by turning them into powerful dragons that then reside in the celestial realms guarding the buddha’s teachings.
The story symbolizes the virtues of courage, effort, and perseverance, which correspond to the nearly impossible struggle of humans to attain buddhahood.
In modern Japan, temples and shrines commonly stock their garden ponds with carp, which grow to enormous sizes in a variety of colors.
This auspicious theme, a parable of effort and success, is linked to the Japanese Boys Day Festival (fifth day of fifth month) when carp streamers are displayed.
Number of claws
Five, four, three claws.
According to most sources, the dragon of China and Japan resemble each other, with the exception that the Japanese dragon has only three claws, while that of the Celestial Kingdom (China) has five.
Japanese dragons are similar to those of China, but are more serpentine in shape, have only three claws on each foot, and fly less frequently.
The reason why they have three toes/claws is because the Japanese believe Eastern dragons originated in their native homeland. Their belief was that when the dragons began to leave Japan, they gained toes.
The further the dragons went, the more toes they gained. Which explains why the Chinese and Korean dragons have more toes.
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