Korean Dragon – Origin, Myth, Tales and Meaning!
For centuries, the Korean dragon, known as “Yong” or “Yongin,” has been essential in Korean mythology, art, and culture.
Unlike the ferocious and evil dragons in Western folklore, Korean celebrate dragons and think of them as benevolent beings associated with good fortune, wisdom, and rain.
This article will delve into the fascinating history, symbolism, and significance of this special creature, shedding light on this mythical creature’s captivating allure. Let’s dive right into this mystical creature!
Table of Contents
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The Korean dragon is one of Korea’s most well-known compassionate creatures among the four creatures – Dragon, Turle, Qulin, and Phoenix.
This legendary creature can control water and bring rain to the land, a crucial aspect of agriculture in Korea.
In addition, the dragon’s image was also associated with the ruling elite, emphasizing the creature’s connection with imperial authority and nobility.
This symbolism can be found in all South Korean social sphere strata. For a King, the dragon symbolizes power and justice, while for ordinary people dragon is the god who brings good fortune.
Origins of the Korean Dragon
Koreans believe dragons start as gigantic land serpents known as ‘Imoogi.’ Afterward, ‘Imoogi‘ will do a thousand years of spiritual sessions to get ‘Yeouiju.’
‘Yeouiju‘ is a mystical orb-like dragon ball that can grant any wishes.
After receiving this mystical orb, it has the supernatural ability to transform into a dragon that flies high into the upper realm.
This is why you see dragons holding an orb in their mouth, chin, or brain because once a dragon loses this Yeouiju orb, it will turn back into a natural serpent.
Types Of Korean Dragon
While most people know ‘Yong‘ as the Korean Dragon, there are actually three types of Korean Dragon you might never know.
- Yong (Sky) – The most well-known Korean dragon, powerful creatures who protect the upper realms.
- Yo (Ocean) – Hornless dragon who guards the underwater.
- Kyo (Mountain) – A dragon that lives in the mountains.
History of Korean Dragons
The rulers during the Joseon era usually wore dragon robes with specific colors and emblems, which showed their power and authority over the nations.
The King wore a scarlet robe with five claws emblem, the crown prince wore a four claws emblem, and the first son of the crown prince wore three claws emblem. This claws shows their position and their own significance in the nations.
Korean Dragon Gods
Koreans believe that dragons are divine, and back then, Koreans worshiped them as they thought that dragons were the gods of water and fortune.
There’s even a rainmaking ritual to honor the dragon gods in their territory.
Back then, there’s a story of a poor fisherman who catches a giant carp. The giant carp then beg for his life from the fishermen, who later on set it free.
Little did he know that the carp was actually the son of the Dragon King, who later on reward him greatly.
Western and Korean dragons Difference
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The difference is clear; in the West, the dragon breathes fire and is perceived as evil.
In Korea, the dragon is perceived as a god who controls the water and helps agriculture, bringing fortune to society.
In terms of appearance, the Western dragon usually has wings, while the Korean dragon has no branches and holds Yeouiju.
In conclusion, the Korean dragon is prominent in Korean culture as a symbol of power, wisdom, and benevolence.
Its roots in ancient mythology, artistic representations, and cultural significance have firmly entrenched the dragon in the hearts of the Korean people.
As the country embraces modernity while preserving its traditions, the Korean dragon will continue to be a captivating emblem of Korea’s rich heritage and enduring charm.
How do you think about dragons in general? Do you perceive it as evil or divine? Let me know in the comment sections below!
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