畫龍點睛 Hua long dian jing – Paint the Dragon, dot the eyes.

 畫龍點睛 Hua long dian jing – Paint the Dragon, dot the eyes.

This saying is literally translated as ‘Paint The Dragon Dot the eyes’.

Logical translation would be ‘Adding final touch’.

The legend behind this idiom tells a story of a young boy who had a talent of drawing dragons. His dragons would come alive once he would finish drawing the eyes by painting black dots for the pupils.

The boy has been invited to a village to show his talent to the people.

Many citizens have gathered to see the talented child’s painting, yet one of them mentioned that the dragons did not have eyes. To which boy replied: “If I draw the eyes, the dragons will come alive”. Nobody believed the boy, so he proceeded to draw dragon’s eyes, adding final touch to his painting. And, of course, the paintings did come alive.

This website provides an interactive book with this story:  http://www.starfall.com/n/chinese-fables/draw-dragon/play.htm?f

The idiom is used to describe that small finishing touch often added to the things to make it perfect.

Here is the video about the idiom:

Usage example:

这个领带还真起到了畫龍點睛的作用. (I wrote down the example from the video).

Literal translation: This tie is drawing dragon, dotting the eyes!

Logical translation: This tie is surely putting a finishing touch.

 

Similar English Expression: Put a finishing touch.

Putting a finishing touch means making final changes to something that has already been finished to improve it further.

 

References: 

“Draw Dragon Dot Eyes”. The story and the idiom have been retrieved from http://www.starfall.com/n/chinese-fables/draw-dragon/play.htm?f on April 20,2014.

 

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2 thoughts on “畫龍點睛 Hua long dian jing – Paint the Dragon, dot the eyes.

  1. Wow! What a cool story behind the origin of this saying. I have always admired Chinese culture for its mythic background and proverbs. I have never heard this saying before but it makes such complete sense and even quite a beautiful reference for those moments when you just need to add the final touches. I really liked how you explained the story as well, the video was informative and I love how the saying has been used in a literal sense in today’s times in a ritualistic way for good luck! I can’t wait til my Dragon comes to life at the end of IReflect, still getting the colours right before I dot the eyes!! Haha 🙂

    • Thank you, Daniel!
      I’m glad you have enjoyed it 🙂 That is the reason behind posting these stories – to get people to learn new stuff in entertaining way! The videos have been extremely helpful, I must admit!If you follow the link to Youtube, there are some more videos on different expressions – I like how they did it in a small dialog format. I am following your campaign and cannot wait to see your dragon come alive at the end of the semester!:)

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