Dragons play important roles in both the Eastern and Western myths. As one of the representative images of God in the human world, dragon bears spiritual beliefs in the Eastern and Western culture.
In China, dragon is the god of wind and rain. While in the West world, the Celts and Vikings worshipped dragon the same way as Chinese, regarded it as their national symbols and eudemons. One of the Celts’ descendants, the Welsh, even added dragon image to their national flag.
There were many different kinds of dragons in Viking culture, they might have long horns, caribou horns, goat horns or ox horns. There were also sea dragons, flying dragons and dragons with two heads. We can even find fire dragons, but mostly the dragons in Viking culture were lizard-like dragons with long horns. Vikings liked to drew dragon marks on their shields and clothes. They believed these marks would bring them strength and power.
The dragon image was widely used on the Viking-age nautical equipments. Also, extensive use of dragon patterns can be found on Vikings ships. Just like the saying goes, “In the eyes of Danes, dragon is both the king and the eudemon. Especially, the dragon would protect those Vikings at sea and bring them home safe and sound.” It seems that China shares something in common with Denmark. What’s more, Viking ship was a very important part of Viking culture, the same as its equivalent in Chinese culture.
In China, dragon is a snake-like creature and totem made up of various animals. In the myths and legends, dragon controls rain and wind, it is not of high status among deities but is always used as the symbol of emperor. Chinese people even call themselves descendants of the dragon. Dragon is an auspicious sign in China, and also the eudemon of China, which coincides with the dragon in Viking culture in some ways.
On the Dragon Boat Festival in China, usually a traditional game called dragon boat race will be held. What’s interesting is, similar to Viking dragon ship, Chinese dragon boat also has a dragon head at the bow. The Vikings seem to have similar traditions.
During the Tang and Song dynasties, Chinese began to sail out and explore the vast ocean, just at the same period where the Vikings stormed the Europe. Have they ever met each other? It’s still a mystery.