I’m going to mostly write this about the eastern style dragons because that’s what 99% of people getting dragon tattoos get. But there is also standard kinda western dragons like you get in Game of Thrones or The Hobbit. These guys are typically evil, fire breathing badasses.
The western kind of dragons are mentioned in the bible twice one is called Leviathan and the other dragon, well, that’s actually Satan. So yeah if you get a western style dragon then it’s probably pretty evil according to history and religion.
However, the Easterners were much kinder to dragons and they ended up attaching all kinds of nice meanings to them.
In China dragons are creatures of legend and mythology. They are most commonly depicted with a serpent like scaled body and 4 legs. The dragon is a symbol of power, strength and good luck.
The dragon represents Yang and the Phoenix represents Yin. So get both and you’ve got some nice balance going on.
Traditionally Chinese dragons have power over water. This can be in the form of rivers, rain, floods etc. There as specific dragons for the seas around China and the villages near the water take this very seriously, building temples to worship the specific dragon king that they want to appease. This dragon king worship is still going on today, how many people actually believe dragons exist however is any ones guess.
Also another thing to note when getting the design of your dragon right which is almost always over looked is the number of fingers or toes the dragon has. The 5 fingered gold dragon was reserved for the Emperor himself. If anyone else used that motif in ancient China, their whole clan would be put to death. Yeah they took this stuff seriously.
The four fingered dragon was used by the fairly important people to show they were, well, fairly important. The 3 fingered dragon was something anyone could use. So now you know, lucky you have this book huh? Otherwise you might have got one with 5 fingers, traveled back in time, gone to ancient China and before you know it, they’ve cut your pony tail of and given you a ninja throwing star to the face.