Is the dragon of the Ly dynasty related to the Naga snake ?
One of the most typical characteristics of Ly Dynasty dragons is their long, soft, flexible body. While the body of the northern dragon is basically the body of a four-legged reptile of the lizard type, the body of the Ly dragon with its coils is emphasized to represent the unique movements of snakes. Perhaps because of this characteristic, many opinions say that the Ly Dynasty dragon was influenced by the visual art of the Naga god snake in Indian culture.
Today, let's join Khi - Viet Linh Mythology Ky to "find the pulse" of our relatives, see how the Ly dynasty dragon and the Naga god snake have similarities and differences!
Symbolizes power and strength: Both the Ly Dynasty dragon and the Naga are symbols of power, strength, and sacredness in East Asian culture.
Sacredness and protection: Both are considered sacred beasts that protect people and the country.
Visual characteristics: The Naga god snake is often described as a multi-headed cobra, with large gills, even square teeth or no mouth opening. Later, the one-head, one-body Naga god snake gradually became popular with a head similar to a dragon's head, hairy, with many manes, chin whiskers, snake membranes that were smaller and even disappeared completely, mouth wide open with sharp teeth. sharp, with sharp horns on its head. These points, when compared with the dragon image of the Ly Dynasty (analyzed in previous articles), are completely different.
Cultural origin and influence: Dragons of the Ly Dynasty originated from East Asian culture, especially influences from Buddhism (considered the state religion of Dai Viet under the Ly Dynasty), while the Naga god snake was mainly associated with influences from Indian Hindu and Buddhist culture, present in Champa, Khmer, Thai and many other Southeast Asian cultures.
Symbolism: The Ly Dynasty dragon is often considered a symbol of the king's power and authority, while the snake god Naga symbolizes prosperity, the god of protecting crops and bringing water to irrigate fields and gardens.
The Ly dynasty dragon and the Naga god snake, although they have similarities in mystery and sacredness, have distinct characteristics, expressing the cultural and spiritual identity of each nation. A clear and careful distinction between these two images will help to better understand the diversity of the sacred visual arts of East Asia.