Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gyeongbok Dragons

Throughout the expansive palace property of Gyeongbokgung and other palaces, one can find imagery of dragons. A common mythological creature of Korea and neighboring countries, the dragon known as yong has three forms, one protecting the sky, another one on earth, and a hornless one in the ocean. Typically containing four claws (Chinese dragons have five and Japanese ones have three), the Korean dragon has the head of a camel, horns of a deer, eyes of a rabbit, ears of an ox, neck of a snake, belly of a frog, scales of a carp, claws of a hawk, and tiger's feet.
During the lengthy Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), only the king could use the dragon in the palace as his symbol. It is seen as a symbol of power, dignity, and majesty. The robes of a king often contained a dragon in its ornamentation.

Below are a few images of dragons found in the Gyeongbokgung Palace.

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