Chinese idiom - Putting the Finishing Touch to the Picture of a Dragon -- 画龙点睛 huà lóng diǎn jīng

In the Southern and Northern Dynasties Period (420-589), there was a painter named Zhāng Sēngyáo (张僧繇).

Once he visited a temple and painted on the wall four dragons, but gave none of them eyes. The onlookers felt that was odd, and asked why he hadn't painted the eyes.

He answered: "Eyes are crucial for dragons. with the eyes painted on, the dragons would fly away."

Nobody believed this, so Zhang Sengyao took up his brush and added eyes to two of the dragons. No sooner had he finished than the two dragons flew into the sky amid a thunderstorm.

The two without eyes stayed painted on the wall.

This idiom is used to describe how, when writing or speaking, one or two key sentences will enhance the contents.


Chinese-English translation:

add the finishing touch

make the finishing point


画:huà  draw / paint / painting / picture

龙:lóng  dragon

点:diǎn  dot

睛:jīng  eye/eyeball


Feel free to make 1 or more sentences with the idiom 画龙点睛 huà lóng diǎn jīng,or try to translate 1 or 2 sentences below.

I'd love to get feedback.


1. I'm almost done with the painting. I just need to add a finishing touch.

2. The last sentence of this essay makes the finishing point.


Have fun! :)

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Top Member
Comment by Zhang Wenzhuo on May 17, 2012 at 9:08am

对,是 卓 字,全名是张文卓,爷爷给取的。卓 有卓越的意思,估计是想让我在文学方面有卓越的成绩吧,所以取名文卓。可惜了,我的语文一直不好,小学时候还因为写不出作文而被找家长!o(╯□╰)o


Comment by Gen on May 16, 2012 at 5:58pm


再说,我对你的名字很好奇!Wenzhuo 是“卓”字吗?

很少有女生的名字用"Zhuo"字呢!我本人倒是觉得很好听! :)

Top Member
Comment by Zhang Wenzhuo on May 16, 2012 at 4:58pm


Comment by Gen on May 16, 2012 at 4:37pm


以前小的时候读书有读到这一句“画龙点睛" 的故事!

Comment by 凯文 on April 12, 2012 at 9:32pm

Hi Zhangwenzhuo

Wow ! thanks for the reply , some really insightful passages , thanks for taking the tiem and energy to reply!



Top Member
Comment by Zhang Wenzhuo on April 12, 2012 at 4:29pm

Hi, 凯文

There is another idiom 点睛之笔 has the same meaning and story as 画龙点睛,点睛之笔 is derived by 画龙点睛. In my sentence, 点睛之笔 is short for 画龙点睛的一笔,I don't think 的一笔 has a special meaning in the sentence. In ancient Chinese, 之means 的,for example, 神之子means god's son, 神--god, 之--'s "的",子--son 儿子,神的儿子。

Now I'm going to explain 一笔 as a quantifier.

1. a deal, 一笔交易

   The South Korea agreement is a bigger deal.


2. a sum of money,一笔资金/一笔钱

    Now, We need a sum of money for technical innovation.


3. a fine, 一笔罚款

    It is the biggest ever fine levied against a drugs company in Beijing.


4. an investment ,一笔投资

    Organizers say the program is an investment in the future and could save millions of lives.


Anything more you want to know, just let me know, I'd love to help!

Comment by 凯文 on April 11, 2012 at 9:31pm


 Thanks for the input!  some really nice patterns here which I will certainly put to good effect!

Just one question what is the significance of having 的一笔 in your example sentence, I know it more or less means to "seal the deal " or " write off" but would you still be okay if that was absent , just curious?


Top Member
Comment by Zhang Wenzhuo on April 11, 2012 at 6:30pm

Hi, Kevin

Thanks for the support and I'm glad you like it. And of course you can use this idiom in the situation you mentioned.  And your translation is good, I just want to change a little.


Good luck with your Chinese learning and Keep it up, I think it will be improved very fast! :)

Comment by 凯文 on April 10, 2012 at 10:46pm


Thanks for these little treasures! Wow... I love these idioms, thanks for sharing , the historical background and insight into ancient dynasties is fascinating and mystical!  

I was just wondering whether I could use this idiom in the below sentence in relation to finishing off a project like web site design or the like or is it solely restricted to paintings and grammar or literally used in any context to mean finishing off something i.e. putting the final touch on it!

My Sentence (probably structured wrong)

在网站我喜欢你上的工作 ,现在你只需要加上的画龙点睛然后 这将是非常好!。

I like the work you did on the website and now you need to add a finishing touch then it will be very good! 

Top Member
Comment by Zhang Wenzhuo on April 8, 2012 at 11:21am

Hi, Thomas

Well done, there is not a single mistake in your sentence, literal or grammatical. I just want to change a little to make the sentence a little normal.


rènhé huìhuà yìshùjiā dōuyǒu zìjǐ dútède diǎnjīngzhībǐ.


点睛之笔 is derived by 画龙点睛,they have the same meaning, and 点睛之笔is used more than 画龙点睛 in our daily life.

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