Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Monday, July 18, 2005

Drawing the Dragon's Eye

If you click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to several pages of information on Asian dragons which are very interesting.


Bring the Painted Dragons to Life by Putting Pupils in Their Eyes

During the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589 AC), once lived a famous painter named Zhang Seng-Zuong. He was highly praised for his fine art by Emperor Liang Wu.

One year, Zhang Seng-Zuong was asked to paint on the wall of the temple of Andong. He almost finished the painting of four dragons, in which they were breaking into a gallop in clouds.

Everybody appreciated the vivid dragons on the wall. "But," asked one man," why didn't you put in the pupils of their eyes?" "Well, they will fly away if the pupils are put in." answered Zhang Seng-Zuong. But nobody believed him. They took what he said for jokes, so they still appealed to him to paint the pupils in the eyes.

At their request, Zhang Seng-Zuong had to take up his paintbrush to begin his troublesome work. After a moment of hesitation, Zhang dotted the key part of the dragons resolutely. Two of the dragons suddenly precipitated into a cloud of rolls of thunder and lightning before he could drop the paintbrush. The crowd was disordered into a mess; some lay themselves on the stomach, and some hid themselves behind pillars. A loud crash was heard and the wall toppled into pieces in the middle. The dragons writhed for a while and flew away high in the sky.

Fortunately the two without pupils still remained there on the wall peacefully.

The proverb, 'Bring the painted dragons to life, by putting pupils in their eyes' now is usually adopted to indicate the case that a person can make his speech or composition smartly lively just with only a few pointed key words or expressions.

This version came from


ms_lili said...

thank you. tasty tidbit

Compass360 Consulting Group said...

Ref to Chinese martial arts tradition, a newly constructed lion (for lion dance) is used for lion dancing when the eyes are dotted.

ms_lili said...

What is the lion dance all about? Also, Rick, what happened to first little story you posted? I wanted to read it again and when I came back it was gone. Don't tell me you dotted its eyes?

Rick Matz said...

If you follow the link that is attached to the title of the post, you'll go to the page I found that first story. You'll have to look around a bit, but looking around isn't all that bad either.

I'd like to read about the Lion Dance too.

Compass360 Consulting Group said...

Lion Dance is a Chinese martial arts tradition of dancing with a paper mache of a lion figure while demostrating movements from their martial arts school.