Dragon Figurines Incorporated Into Building Design

Dragons, gargoyles, and other grotesques are a representation of numerous things: protection, warning, and power. That said, it is rather understandable why they have found a home as a part of architecture for hundreds of years.

Yet, these mythological statues weren’t always so mystical, in the beginning they had very practical uses. The pattern of these gargoyles was created to serve as rain spouts that would prohibit water from collecting on top of Gothic cathedrals and castles as it would cause damage. The structures were built so that the rain ran off the top of the building and out the spout placed within the creature. Even without the magical undertones, it must have been a pretty nifty sight.

When building strategies advanced and pooling water no longer presented a danger to the architecture, the grotesques remained, but now more of an adornment. This is great because it would have been a shame, not to mention difficult, to rid the edifices of these stone creatures. Originally, “gargoyles” was the all-purpose name for these types of figurines. The figures were commonly modeled after people or domesticated animals, as well as beings of religion and lore. Those with more horrific or disfigured appearances were given the designation “grotesques.”

In Imperial China, dragons decorated the most official structure. They appeared as roof figurines and decorations on beams, pillars, and doors. However, you would never find dragon symbology on common buildings, it was specifically for the elite class.

Other instances of dragon architecture reflect legend and lore. Dragons are the official emblem of Ljubljana, Slovenia, coming from the stories of Jason and the Argonauts slaying the diabolical dragon. The world-famous Dragon Bridge is just one amazing example. If you haven’t had a chance to visit Ljubljana, you should at least visit the bridge online.

Many cities are proud to welcome dragons into their towns. London and Pittsburg are two other examples. I’ve heard that Pittsburg provides a great walking tour of the places you can observe gargoyle and dragon images and statues.

Maybe you have heard of the famed gargoyles that look after Notre Dame in Paris. There you’ll find them in almost every direction you look.

And then you have the National Cathedral in Washington, where you will come across gargoyles of a different and more contemporary variety; not your everyday dragons. In the 1980s, National Geographic’s World magazine partnered with the cathedral to set up a competition that asked children to design the sculptures that would adorn the cathedral. And that is how this fabulous building ended up with a contemporary dragon statue of sorts: the helmet of Darth Vader. And also one of a raccoon, a computer, a robot camera, and a host of other characters, including one with a gas mask, designed to protect us in a future run rampant with technology and unseen dangers.

The next time you pass by an old church, whether it be one lost to time or one still used for services, look closely at the stonework. If you are actually looking for them (because they can be tricky in their hiding spots), you will be shocked at how many dragons and gargoyles are actually surrounding us.

Author Bio: Jeff Bronson is the owner of Obscuria.com, a darkly unique Gothic shop. Obscuria offers a quality selection of dragon figurines and dragon collectibles, and many custom made, exclusive in the U.S items.

Category: Culture
Keywords: dragon figurines, dragon collectibles, dragon collectables, dragon figurine, fantasy dragon, fantas

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