Chirk Castle Dragons
Updated: Nov 9, 2019
Meeting dragons from East and West. Folklore and furnishings, and dragons of the dark and light.
First came the dragons* (see bottom of article) of the rising sun with the beautiful porcelain vases of China. There were three dragons depicted on the vases seen below. The vase of most interest was the ‘gu’ shaped vase in the middle depicting a sinuous dragon. The tall slender vase has a delicate flared base changing to a narrow middle before widening out. ‘Gu’ shaped objects like this where the top is wider than the base were usually made of metal.
Unfortunately, they didn’t photograph too well due to the poor lighting conditions, but enough at least to give you an insight.
I was later to discover another Chinese dragon in another of the rooms, Again poorly photographed. Easily missed this was not included as part of the folklore and furnishings exhibition.
Then came a scroll of the castle descendants. Could this be a dragon? It didn't look like the lions or wolves depicted elsewhere. You will have to visit and decided for yourself.
Of more interest were these serpent twins I found on an old door fashioned out of the hinges.
According to the National Trust display on heraldry the dragon was said to symbolise bravery and the snake ambition.
Lastly came some strange creatures on what is said to be the oldest plasterwork in the castle. These were up near adjacent to the tower with the dungeon.
Appearing to have hoof like front feet their bodies disappear into a kind of vine. Each dragon mouth is holding a vine which joins to a central humanoid face via ring through which the vine is threaded.
Vines also sprout from the mouths of wolf heads. It is a curious mix of images from different cultures. The dragons seem to have a classical flavour to them in their styling whereas the wolf heads seem to hark back to bears which are more commonly associated with sprouting foliage.
This appears to be backed up by the presence of two monkeys also on the same frieze extending around the room which can be found either side of a window. Monkeys were commonly associated with bears from the times when bears and monkeys were commonly teamed together as entertainment. Both animals were expected to dance to accompanying music.
The vines that join all together look like hops suggesting beer and intoxication. The monkeys hold fruit. The frieze perhaps suggests an abundance of food and drink and earthly pleasure. Our ties to the physical realm might be suggested by the rings which could be tethering the vines to the wall.
Outside in the garden we came across a statue of a maiden standing on a serpent. We took it to mean Lilith since she was holding lilies. But, the statue by Lucessi is apparently the Madonna.
The final dragon we came across was a type of energy in and near the castle. Running through the dungeon and outside across the driveway, this was an unpleasant twisting of the earths' energy. Given the castles' history it is hardly surprising. I wasn’t aware the two incidents were linked until I saw an aerial view when I realised the two experiences we had were linked due to location. The driveway being right next to the tower as you can see in the photo below.
The dungeon tower is the one on the far right towards the back of the building. It is like a coiled serpent, the energy appearing to circle around on itself. This would explain the recurring sightings by visitors. You can read more about that particular experience here. It would certainly be interesting to explore the landscape on a wider scale to this sometime.
Apologies some photos are a bit blurry. But if you love dragons you are in for a treat next time though because most of the dragons I will share next in my next dragon themed article I managed to get right up close to. Prolific, extraordinary and unexpected they were in a most unexpected place!
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Dragon Blessings from Amanda Claire
*https://www.jackinthegreen.org/post/the-four-dragons-of-china this is the link to the story behind the vases it's an ancient Chinese dragon tale