The real dragon is not in the claws

02 Feb 2024

Lianhe Zaobao, 2 Feb 2024, 张田勘:真龙不在爪 (summarised translation)

The dragon, rooted in ancient Chinese religious beliefs and totems, has undergone continuous refinement over time. Understanding the historical evolution of dragon imagery and embracing its diverse depictions are essential from a cultural standpoint.

In Singapore's Chinatown, the dragon centrepiece crafted by SUTD students showcases a unique interpretation with four claws—three in the front and one at the rear—providing a modern twist to the traditional five claws. Designed meticulously over nine months by 13 students, this creation seamlessly blends respect for Chinese cultural traditions with contemporary elements.

It's worth noting that the dragon, as a mythical creature, isn't bound by a fixed physical form. As long as the overall portrayal aligns with Chinese cultural definitions—where the dragon is believed to originate from nine animals—attention to minor details should not overshadow the broader cultural significance.