Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D = Dragons in Paris - A to Z Blog Challenge

 
Dragon detail, at the Louvre - by DG Hudson

Dragon at the Louvre

Frozen in stone, the small Dragon in the photo above will forever peer over his wing at what's following him. If this is only the detail, what did the rest of the building look like? Bits of antiquity make us wonder at the imaginations of the people in ages past. Dragons of various sorts have appeared in different cultures and continue to exist in myth and legend today.



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Dragon at the Arc de Triomphe


Marianne with Dragon on Cap, Arc de Triomphe - by DG Hudson


A Dragon in the Louvre Museum surprised me, but so did the dragon sitting atop Marianne's cap on the bust halfway up the stairs of the Arc de Triomphe.  She's one of the warriors in the large sculptural groupings of the support columns.  Marianne  is a recognized yet informal symbol of France, and sometimes goes by other names.  I'm not sure whether the dragon is supposed to be symbolic or decorative, and couldn't find too many references to it.  Marianne is exhorting the people to fight for liberty, not sure about the dragon. 

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There are two distinct cultural traditions of Dragons: the European dragon and the Chinese dragon. Within those two traditions are several sub-types, varying by country.  France has its own dragon style as do several other cultures. The two  featured in this post seem to be in line with the French type.


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2012, the Year of the Dragon

The dragon sign of the Chinese Zodiac is the most powerful of the 12 signs, one associated with high energy and prosperity.  2012 is considered especially favorable because it's the year of the Water Dragon, something that happens once every 60 years.

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DG's Theme:  Paris, Etc.  (Art, Film, Places and People)


Interested in dragons? Nasty and fiery or mind-meld types?  Born in the year of the Dragon?  Please share in the comments.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_zodiac Chinese Zodiak

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/01/22/f-year-of-the-dragon.html
Year of the Dragon, CBC News

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dragons_in_mythology_and_folklore List of mythological dragon types

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon Dragons

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23 comments:

  1. Dragons are cool. My favorite is Smaug from The Hobbit, but Norbert from Harry Potter is a close second.

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    1. Dragons aren't the most loveable of creatures, generally, but like other mythical creatures, they fascinate us. Thanks for stopping by, Rick.

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  2. Great post! Dragons aren't that common in Mexico, where I come from--we have hordes of mythical creatures, but no dragons (or equivalents), which is interesting in itself: Europe and Asia both have a history of dragon elements in their mythology and symbolism; why not the Americas? Whatever the origin of the dragon is, it seems to have been absent on this part of the world. An interesting topic of research?

    Thanks for sharing! And great pictures :)

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    1. Welcome, Guillie, and thanks for following. You're right about no evidence of dragons in the Americas - I wondered about that.

      Or did we lose our sense of magic?

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  3. The top picture almost looks (to me) like a dragon is trying to free itself from a block of ice, and hasn't quite succeeded. Yet. I hope he does...

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    1. I like that version better than the dragon being trapped in stone. But then, I imagined a wizard had caused it in the first place.

      Thanks for visiting, Reb.

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  4. Found you on the A to Z list! Love dragons. Such awesome creatures. I know it's animated, but I love the movie "How to Train Your Dragon."

    Shannon
    Shannonigans

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  5. I'm visiting from the A to Z Challenge.
    Thanks for the educational tidbits...
    I don't know much about dragons... except that they breathe fire? And are always associated with damsels in distress?
    I've heard of the Komodo Dragon - but it belongs to the lizard family...

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  6. I saw yesterday on television that the closest living relative to a T-Rex is a chicken. So I thought, if dragons were real but extinct like the T-Rex I wonder what its closest relative might be?

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  7. Shannon - Sounds like a nice pet (as long as it doesn't burn everything)

    Michelle - Dragons have to be part bird and part lizard

    Michael - Chicken and ostriches ae supposed to have similar hip movements and range of emotions, interesting thought. . .

    Vjicha - thanks for stopping by.

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  8. I don't know that the people of old had any better of an imagination that contemporary artists have. What they did have was time. They were not saddled with cell phones, computers, paying electric bills, etc, and as a result had more time to hone their respective muses.

    The dragons are very, very cool. I prefer the Chinese style.

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    1. It's the power the dragon image evokes that increases its appeal. Dragons seem cool, as long as one isn't chasing you.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jeremy.

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  9. Very creative post! Its been years since I was in Paris - and who would think to find a theme in architecture. Now I will be looking for these - and other creatures - in cities near me. nice to be on the A to Z with you!

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  10. Stopping by from the A to Z Challenge. I've always thought dragons were awesome!

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  11. Dragons have always fascinated me--how in one story they're allies and in another they're foes. I've wondered about that in myths: why the duplicity?

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  12. Donna - thanks, I try to hone my 'camera eye' to find detail. Glad you got some inspiration from that.

    Kelley - Being able to breathe fire and fly ups the awesome factor.

    Bethie - I guess it's that reptilian way of viewing life. Thanks for the follow.

    I'll be visiting all your spots to see your A - Z posts.

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  13. I like the dragon post and you've got some awesome pictures. I'm a new follower.

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  14. I was born in the year of the dragon. They are fascinating creatures.

    Lisa
    http://livethemoment09.blogspot.com

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  15. Beth - Thanks for the follow and glad you liked the post.

    Rob and Lisa - I agree. Fascinating. I'll admire them from afar.

    Nice to meet you.

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  16. I do believe in dragons! Just became a follower! Enjoyed your post.

    CarolynBrown-Books

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  17. I love dragons, always have. I'm the author of the YA fantasy HENRIETTA THE DRAGON SLAYER, where I draw from both the Western and Eastern lore for dragons. I stumbled upon your article doing research of dragons in Paris for a story I'm currently writing.

    Did you know that there is a rue du Dragon in Paris (Dragon Street)? There are still 2 dragons on that street. (See pics here: http://www.iloveparisapartments.com/a_dr1.htm) There was also a courtyard, La cour du dragon, photgraphped by Atget, but i don't see any dragons in the photo: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:La_cour_du_Dragon_(Paris_VIe)_par_Eug%C3%A8ne_Atget_(1913).jpg

    In my previous research of the city pre-1850, I discovered there used to be a Porte du Dragon near or on rue du Dragon. I've only seen one daguerrotype of it.

    Thanks for your photos! I hadn't seen either of those dragons before.

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    1. You have to look at everything to find those hidden dragons. Glad I helped with your research. I was surprised and pleased at the artists who created these little bits of fantasy.
      Thanks for letting me know you were here.

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