Dragon Lore

Prominently featured in the myths of many eastern and western cultures, dragons are more than just fire-breathing creatures from legend. They also hold spiritual and cultural significance the world over. The word “dragon” can be traced back to the Greek word “drakon,” which referred to the dragon’s serpentine and reptilian characteristics. The Latin word for dragon is “draco.” In art, the dragon has been captured in the form of dragon garden statues, paintings, and at Design Toscano, as unique furniture like the Warwickshire Dragon Coffee Table.


Dragons are usually depicted with the scaly body of a large lizard or serpent, often with monstrous bat-like wings and at times, the ability to breathe fire. The winged dragon is characteristic of Western European lore, where dragons live in protected lairs, such as caves, and are known as malevolent creatures of the earth. With fanged teeth, as modeled by our Stoker’s Moors Dragon Skull Statue, dragons epitomized a menacing prowler throughout thousands of years of mythology, representing evil in contrast to the good knight.


The snake-like dragon derives from the legends of the Orient. In many Asian cultures, dragons often represented the spiritual forces of the universe, and they also possessed magical powers themselves that granted supreme wisdom and power. Culturally, Chinese dragons are seen, unlike their western counterparts, as kind, intelligent, benevolent creatures and are a common site in China. Depicted like a scaly serpent, the Chinese dragon is ubiquitous in Chinese art and folklore.


Since dragons are known to have the powers of a shape shifter, we’ve depicted dragons in their many different incarnations and roles. For a truly menacing interpretation based on the European style, our Warsin Dragon Statue brings to mind the ancient battle of knights versus dragons. In honor of the noble dragons that guarded castle moats, we’ve sculpted the Dragon of Falkenberg Castle complete with scales, wings, and a treacherous tail.


Whether you’re looking to honor the ancient spirit of the dragons found in Asian myth or you’re more drawn to the legendary power and ferocity of Medieval dragons, Design Toscano offers many Gothic decor, Dragon garden statues, Japanese garden statues, and Medieval knight statues from which to choose.

Design Toscano History

Design Toscano is the country’s premier source for statues and other historical and antique replicas, which are available through our catalog, website and Gallery store located in Arlington Heights, IL.

Michael and Marilyn Stopka, created Design Toscano in 1990. While on a trip to Paris, the Stopkas first saw the marvelous carvings of gargoyles and water spouts at the Notre Dame Cathedral.  Inspired by the beauty and mystery of these pieces, they decided to introduce the world of medieval gargoyles to America in 1993. On a later trip to Albi, France, the Stopkas had the pleasure of being exposed to the world of Jacquard tapestries that they added quickly to the growing catalog and web site.

Since then, our product line has grown to include Egyptian art and decor, Medieval decor and other period pieces that are now among the current favorites of Design Toscano customers, along with an extensive collection of outdoor garden water fountains, garden statuary, authentic canvas replicas of oil painting masterpieces, and other antique art reproductions.

At Design Toscano, we pride ourselves on attention to detail by traveling directly to the source for all historical replicas. Over 90% of our catalog offerings are exclusive to the Design Toscano brand, allowing us to present unusual decorative items unavailable elsewhere.  

This fall’s exclusive finds have all of us more excited than usual! We’ve discovered new shops on London’s Portobello Road, been transported back in time while searching ateliers on Paris’ Left Bank, and struck up friendships with the proprietors of Venetian antique shoppes. Expect the unexpected from Design Toscano and enjoy this delightful season!

Mike and Marilyn

Unique Specialty Home & Garden Decor