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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter of the book focuses on the identification of the dragon imagery in a medieval Central Asian cultural context, in what may be described as Irano Turkish territories, from where it was disseminated by people of predominantly Turkic and Iranian stock. It is precisely on the manifestations of the dragon as evinced in the cultural and artistic context of the medieval Central Asian world before the phenomenon of the "Chinese-style" dragon occurred in the arts of Islam during the latter half of the thirteenth and fourteenth century with the establishment of the Mongols in Central Asia. This chapter focuses on the dragons association with the four great elements-earth, water, fire and wind. They express, in a mythical language, aspects of the natural setting and the positive or dangerous qualities of those aspects, such as rain, drought or flood.

Keywords: Central Asia; dragons; Iranian; Islam



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