The mythical creature–the dragon–has figured large in literature, movies, and culture, most especially in Eastern cultures. The view of the dragon between the East and the West could hardly be more polar opposite. In Western cutlure, the dragon for the most part is the demonic and destructive creature to be slayed. The mighty knight becomes the hero when he slays the dragon and saves the damsel in distress. The story line represents the defeat of evil and sin by the heroic and just.
In the east, however, the dragon is a symbol of Imperial Power protecting weaker humans from evil spirits and the danger of the forces of nature, such as the wind and the rain. The dragon is also an emblem of joy and good health and even fertility. Because it represents goodness and a protective power, it has been adopted by emperors as symbols of their benevolent strength.
The intricately carved dragon in the photo above is found on the gravestone of an Asian family, which suggests that it represents, in this case, the dragon as a symbol of goodness.