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Symbolic Meanings of Dragons between East and West ( HKBU / Contemporary Europe and Asia / POLS 3620 )
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Symbolic Meanings of Dragons between East and West ( HKBU / Contemporary Europe and Asia / POLS 3620 )

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Presentation Powerpoint about the symbolic meanings of dragons between East and West by Choi Wan Sze and Yau Kai Man.

Presentation Powerpoint about the symbolic meanings of dragons between East and West by Choi Wan Sze and Yau Kai Man.

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  • 1. The Symbolic Meanings of Dragons between East and West Choi Wan Sze , Angel ( 07008058 ) Yau Kai Man , Manson ( 07011660 )
  • 2. I. Introduction
    • Dragon s are the legendary creatures that exists in both E ast ern and W estern civilization.
    • Dragons in E ast and W est are similar in physical features but represent very different meanings.
    • Eastern d ragons or Loong ( 龍 ): power, immortality, activity and good fortune
    • Western d ragon or European dragons: devil, enemies, cold-blooded
    • Reflect the cultural difference between East and West
    Yau Kai Man , Manson
  • 3. II. Physical A ppearances of Eastern and Western D ragons
    • Eastern Dragons:
    • Looks like a combination of many animals such as snakes and eagles, and had no wings
    • Each one of its four short legs had five toes
    • Even though depicted without wings the Chinese dragon is believed to fly
    •  Often in red or gold
    Yau Kai Man , Manson
  • 4. II. Physical A ppearances of Eastern and Western D ragons
    • Western Dragons :
    •  Typically depicted as a huge fire-breathing, scaly and horned dinosaur-like creature
    •  With bat-type wings growing from its back
    •  Have four legs and a long muscular tail
    Yau Kai Man , Manson
  • 5. III. Symbolic meanings of Dragon s in the East
    • Asian dragons: divine, power, immortality, procreation, fertility, activity and good fortune
    • In most cases, dragons represent a very positive images in the Eastern culture , particularly in China . It is believed that they can keep people away from evil spirits.
    • Credited with having great powers that allowed them to make rain and to control floods.
    Yau Kai Man , Manson
  • 6. III. Symbolic M eanings of Dragon s in the East
    • All dragons from Japan and Korea are derived from the Chinese dragons, so they have similar symbolic meanings.
    • Chinese people regards themselves as the descendants of dragon s .
    • Legendary figures like Nüwa ( 女媧 ) and Fuxi ( 伏羲 ) are depicted as having human face with snake /dragon bodies.
    Yau Kai Man , Manson An image of Japanese dragon
  • 7. Nüwa ( 女媧 ) and Fuxi ( 伏羲 )
    • Nüwa ( 女媧 ) :
    • Mother of mankind
    • Female
    • Fuxi ( 伏羲 ) :
    • Father of mankind
    • Male
    A famous m yth of Chinese dragons : After a serious flooding, the two dragons brother and sister, N ü wa and Fuxi, survived. The dragons married and gave birth to the Chinese. Therefore, the Chinese are the “ descendants of dragon s.” Yau Kai Man , Manson
  • 8. Chinese Dragons as S ymbol of A uthorit y
    • In ancient days the dragon was regarded as the most sacred animal.
    • The dragon was a symbol for the emperor in many Chinese dynasties. Chinese emperors think they are the real dragons and the sons of heaven.
    • It was an offense for commoners to wear clothes with a dragon symbol.
    • The dragon is featured in the carvings on the steps of imperial palaces and tombs.
    Yau Kai Man , Manson
  • 9. Chinese Dragons as S ymbol of A uthorit y
    • Dragon is the symbol of the imperial authority and the Emperor in China.
    • Dragons architecture, dragon motif and the yellow color are restricted to the royalty only.
    During the late Qing Dynasty, the dragon was even adopted as the national flag. Yau Kai Man , Manson Nine Dragon Wall in Forbidden City Tai-Tsung, Tang Dynasty (626-649) with his imperial robe .
  • 10. IV. Symbolic M eanings of Dragon s in the West
    • European dragons are also legendary creatures in Europe.
    • In England, there are myths and legends of dragons needing to be killed by brave Princes to protect people from their cruelty.
    • Generally, dragon is a symbol of evil in the eyes’ of the W estern people , it is aggressive and cold-blooded .
    • Its symbolic meanings are very different from the Asian dragon.
    An image of evil dragon described in the Bible Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 11. Dragons as S ymbol of E vil The “Japanese Dragon” and “Nazi Dragon” in WWII As a symbol of devil, dragon is often used as a figure to represent the enemies of the W estern world. Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 12. “ Dragons” in WWII The “Appeaser” in the middle is calling the “Nazi Dragons” go back home by giving them Lollypop, showing criticisms to the A ppeasement P olicy before WWII. Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 13. Dragons are used to represent the terrorists in the “War on Terror” Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 14. Exception: European Dragons as S ymbol of A uthorit y
    • The European dragons were not always regarded as a symbol of evil.
    Choi Wan Sze , Angel Dragon is the symbol of Ljubljana, capital city of Slovenia
  • 15. Exception: European Dragons as S ymbol of A uthorit y The Welsh red dragon is found in both the national flag and royal badge of Wales. Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 16. V. Misconception of Chinese Dragons by the West
    • Asian dragons in the eyes of Westerners are not always clearly distinguished from the ir evil dragons .
    • Misunderstanding of Chinese dragons by the West hurts the image of China.
    • The Western style dragons are widely used in political cartoon s to show criticism to the PRC G overnment .
    Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 17. When the Eastern and Western Dragons meet: China=Dragon=Devils? Nowadays, in the eyes of the W est, the threat of China is sometimes linked to the evil dragon. Choi Wan Sze , Angel Boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
  • 18. The Chinese dragon was drawn with the tail of devil. This shows the threat of the huge and evil dragon (China) of bringing “danger” by her money policy. Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 19. President Hu of PRC became an angry and terrible dragon after George W. Bush mentioned that his next stop is Taiwan. Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 20. The West depicted China’s economy as a fat dragon which flies at the expense of human rights. Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 21. China’s economy is represented by a Western style evil dragon that enslaves the cow of Wall Street (US economy) Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 22. Interesting Term: Dragon Lady
    • Westerners use the term “dragon lady” to describe women as mean, deceitful, powerful, or domineering .
    • Less in common with such terms in Chinese as loong nü (Dragon women), which represents women of purity and inviolability.
    Dragon Lady versus Little Dragon Woman ( 小龍女 ) Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 23. VI. Conclusion: Is the Dragon a Suitable Symbol for China? Is China like this? Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 24. Is the Dragon a Suitable Symbol for China?
    • Recently, China has tried to disassociate itself from the dragon symbol due to the negative political connotations associated with it.
    • In 2006, a Shanghai professor (Wu Youfu) suggested that the dragon should no longer symbolize China
    •  Aroused immediate objections from the public
    • Since the image of the dragon had a threatening war like perception in the eyes of the West, the Chinese wanted to replace that image with a softer symbol. The alternative was the giant panda.
    Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 25. Is the Dragon a Suitable Symbol for China?
    • However…
    • The Chinese dragon symbol still occupies a special place in modern Chinese society.
    • From advertisement campaigns to T-shirts, posters and tattoos the symbol of the dragon can be seen throughout the streets of China. 
    • As a symbol of China, the dragon is deep-rooted in Chinese culture. It is not something that can be replaced simply because it is misinterpreted by the West.
    Choi Wan Sze , Angel
  • 26. ~ End ~