Last Touch Added to Drawing of a Dragon

By Lily Choo, Epoch Times
September 1, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
a dragon

The “last touch added to a drawing of a dragon” is a Chinese idiom that means “to get to the point.” It can also be used to highlight importance. The idiom comes from the following tale:

During the Southern Dynasty (A.D. 420–581), General Sengyou Zhang was known for his great painting skills. His paintings were recorded in the book “Famous Painting, Vol. 7” from the Tang Dynasty.

Once, Sengyou Zhang was invited by the monks from Anle Temple to draw dragons on the walls. Sengyou drew four dragons on the temple walls, but he left the pupils of the dragons unfinished.

A monk asked him the reason for the omission. Sengyou told him that if he were to draw in the pupils, the dragons would become alive and fly away. The monk did not believe it and requested he complete the work.

Sengyou Zhang then drew the pupils on the first dragon. As soon as the two dots were added, lightning suddenly flashed and thunder boomed. The dragon became alive and immediately flew away. The other three dragons without pupils were still there.

This is how the saying, “the last touch added to a drawing of a dragon” came to represent just how important is the last touch in a masterpiece or any other important business.

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