Hybrid Creature—Dragon-tailed Lion Motif in Eurasian Textile Imagery

  •  Kunhang Li    
  •  Yu Liu    


The dragon-tailed lion motif is a hybrid creature motif usually composed of a lion’s body with a dragon’s head serving in place of the tail. As a decorative motif, the dragon-tailed lion mixes imagination and reality in Eurasian textile imagery, and is an excellent entry point for understanding medieval social culture. This article seeks to examine the symbolic meaning and development of this hybrid creature in different cultural contexts via Eurasian textile imagery and ancient documents. Broadly, the resulting shows that the combination, shape and symbolic meaning of the dragon-tailed lion are variable, whose symbolic functions are directly related to the cultural context of the lion and the dragon. The dragon-tailed lion motif as a long-standing imagery tradition and aesthetic, reflecting the common concept of creation and the extensive and diverse cultural connections in the Eurasian continent in the Middle Ages.

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