Dragon Shell

Step 4 of 6

Birds and dragons

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The birds’ aquatic connections and the fact that kingfishers and cranes are attributed with auspicious meanings, connect them to the dragons, who were believed to reside in underwater palaces. The intricacy of the dragon shell’s carving shows the expertise of Guangzhou craftsmen, which was imitated by early modern European artisans who cut, carved, etched and painted the surfaces of Asian shells as well.(Fig. 6 and 7)