Dragons, Nagas, and Creatures of the Deep

2012 was the East Asian calendar’s Year of the Dragon, and in celebration, Dragons, Nagas, and Creatures of the Deep presented a global selection of textiles depicting dragons and other fantastical creatures of legend.

Across the world and over the centuries, dragons have taken many forms, from the beneficent nagas (divine snakes) of East and Southeast Asia, to the fearsome flying beasts of Western traditions. Whether viewed as good or evil, these powerful creatures became symbols of prestige for those who were permitted to use their images to decorate clothes and furnishings. Drawn entirely from the museum’s collections, the textiles in this exhibition illuminated imaginative images of mythical creatures as diverse as the peoples who created them.