Dragon Shell

Step 3 of 6

Birds

Fig. 5. Drawing of the shell - The Trustees of the British Museum - 1504261001

The mount also covers one of the two bird species in the top of the shell: two cranes among the clouds. What is visible, though, is a pair of kingfishers. Both species nest close to water. The kingfisher’s ancient Greek name, halcyon, suggests that it nests on the open sea, while Tang dynasty poetry refers to its natural habitat as shared with kraken and dragons.[Kroll, 1984, p.237, p.249]