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Dragons On Monumental Settings In Regions West Of Iran

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Chapter Summary

Among the mythical creatures depicted on medieval Islamic monuments, the dragon occupies a significant place. However, while the iconography is entirely absent from Western Central Asian monumental art until the fifteenth century, it is characteristic of the area to the west of Iran. The iconography of the dragon clearly enjoyed cross-cultural popularity in the medieval era. One of the primary uses of the iconography of the dragon was therefore to identify the threshold and thereby operate as liminal marker. The depiction of dragons may be associated with the fact that some dangerous animals, in particular vipers, are held to have a poisonous glance. The conception of the existence of a serpent with heads at both ends of its body appears to have been widespread in the medieval Islamic world.

Keywords: Dragons; Iran; Islamic monuments; serpent; Western Central Asian



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