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The Butchart Chronicles : September 15, 2016

Dragon Fountain

The Dragon Fountain

Now in Its New Location

The dragon fountain was presented as a gift from the People’s Republic of China in conjunction with the celebration of the 35th anniversary between the City of Victoria and our sister city Suzhou. The dragon represents the friendship and goodwill of the Chinese people and signifies the wishes of peace and prosperity as well as good weather for our crops. As a way to show respect to the Chinese and their culture, we have designed the fountain on two levels. The shapes used in the design of the dragon fountain are significant in Chinese culture and both the circle and the octagon were closely incorporated into the final design.

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The Lower Circular Pool

A perfect circle is almost impossible to produce by unaided human hands, which is one reason why this shape was valued so much in Chinese culture. The circle stands for “fulfilled”, “oneness”, “perfection” and unity. More specifically, it is the process of something coming full circle that bears the most importance. Yin and Yang form a perfect circle divided by a sinuous line (taichi symbol) and stands for the conflicting forces inside everything.

In a nutshell, the circle could figuratively mean perfection of some sort. You could also say that the shape defines the outline of the Chinese mindset. This shape is so basic, so old, so commonly seen and loaded with many meanings that it may have achieved an almost ominous presence in the culture.

The Upper Octagonal Pool

The octagon is significant in that it represents the number ‘8’ which to the Chinese signifies prosperity, fortune or wealth. This was the shape of many of their temples. We took this numerology one step further and designed an eight-sided pool in eight-foot increments with eight waterfalls – each being one foot in width – creating eight feet of falling water. In essence we have taken some liberty in multiplying the benefits hoping for an outpouring of an abundance of wealth, prosperity and joy.

What we have designed could signify the outpouring of peace and prosperity being multiplied and poured into a foundation or pool of oneness, perfection, fulfillment and unity.  

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Other Design Considerations

Seven large stones have been incorporated into the rock wall as well as into the landscape surrounding the fountain. The number seven in this case is meant to represent the seven continents (even seven seas if you wish) and also signifies completeness or perfection in many cultures. The patio/paver pattern itself reflects the symbol of the ‘omega’ which is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Omega also means great ‘O’ or great circle.   

Plant Material in The Surrounding Landscape

The majority of the plants that we used in the landscape surrounding the Dragon Fountain have their origins in China and some have individual significance such as the pine, which symbolizes longevity and solidarity. The remaining plants are known to be growing in China and we have incorporated these into the design as the goal was to create a new area that seamlessly blends into the existing landscape. In essence, we wanted something unique, but we also wanted to create something special that didn’t deviate too far from the style of plantings that we are famous for.

We hope you enjoy the fountain as much as we have enjoyed creating the space for its permanent home.

Rick Los - director of horticulture

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