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The Butchart Chronicles : April 28, 2017

New: The Japanese Dragon at The Butchart Gardens

Rebuilt Japanese Dragon Returns to The Japanese Garden

The dragon that once graced the top of the watercourse in the Japanese Garden has returned. Admittedly, it’s not the original, but we will go out on a limb and state with great confidence that it is superior in many ways. Although we don’t have any historical records regarding the original dragon, we had local artist Nathan Scott recreate this exquisite piece by taking fragments from the original piece, rebuilding what he had to the best of his ability, and then reimagining and recreating the intricate details. What Nathan has achieved is remarkable as the new dragon is simply stunning and should turn the heads of every visitor descending the stairs into our Japanese Garden.

You may be wondering about the differences in dragons and what makes them unique as we now have a dragon of Chinese origin and this newly minted Japanese version.  If you look closely, the first thing you may have noticed is that the Chinese dragon has 5 toes and the Japanese dragon has only three. The Chinese claim that dragons originated in their country and as the dragon flew further away from their home they began losing toes. The Japanese claim ownership of origin as well, but their story is that the dragons gained toes as they flew further away.

When you view the Japanese dragon, it is quite clear that there is a certain fierceness emanating from it. Japanese folklore does make it clear that their dragons could be quite destructive and violent, whereas the Chinese viewed their dragons as being more benevolent towards us humans.

Another noticeable feature that you will see with our Japanese dragon is the pearl that it is holding in its right hand. Pearls typically represent wisdom and since dragons were thought to be supernaturally wise it would have been natural for them to hold onto and cherish such treasures.

Whatever the case, this fabulous new addition adds an element of surprise and originality to our wonderful Japanese Garden.