Published: 12:55, January 26, 2024 | Updated: 13:03, January 26, 2024
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Dragons fly high throughout the city
By China Daily

As Spring Festival approaches, shopping malls and commercial brands across Shanghai have set up art installations to usher in the upcoming Year of the Dragon.

The dragon is the only mythical creature among the 12 who in the Chinese zodiac. It appears as a chimera combining the features of nine real animals. It has antlers like a deer, a head like a camel, eyes like a rabbit, a neck like a snake, a belly like a mollusk, scales like a fish, claws like an eagle, paws like a tiger and ears like an ox.

The dragon is hailed as one of the most iconic and revered Chinese symbols, and is associated with such qualities as power, royalty, wisdom, luck, fortune, prosperity and success.

It's so deeply ingrained in tradition that it's heralded as a totem of the country's national identity and cultural heritage, and Chinese often refer to themselves as "descendants of the dragon".

"These installations embody Shanghai's blessings for people born in the Year of the Dragon," 34-year-old office worker Xu Fei says, while visiting a dragon-themed display in Raffles City in Changning district.

University student Yu Xin, 21, points out while admiring installations during a walk that some of his friends' names include long, the mandarin word for dragon.

Here are some locations in Shanghai hosting installations.


1. Taikoo Li Qiantan

Address: 500, Dongyu Road, Pudong New Area

Luxury brand Louis Vuitton presents a giant dragon installation at its Taikoo Li Qiantan store that combines the brand's classic checkerboard grid, four-leaf flower and traditional Chinese elements.


2. Huijin Department Store

Address: 1000 Zhaojiabang Road, Xuhui district

This dragon sculpture is jointly presented by Huijin Department Store and the Dunhuang Museum. The image comes from the ancient murals in the world-famous grottoes of Dunhuang in northwestern China's Gansu province. It represents sanctity, majesty, good fortune and protection.


3. Raffles City Changning

Address: 1139 Changning Road, Changning district

This installation creatively combines traditional folklore and modern art to depict a giant roaring dragon that lights up at night.


4. HKRI Taikoo Hui

Address: 789 West Nanjing Road, Jing'an district

In tribute to American Neo-Expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who pioneered the acceptance of graffiti, HKRI Taikoo Hui is presenting the large-scale art installation, The Crowned Dinosaur. It depicts a 15-meter-high dinosaur named Pez, surrounded by scaffolding to celebrate the theme of fearlessness. The Chinese characters for "dinosaur" include the character for "dragon".


5. Philips Healthy Living Lab

Address: 253 North Maoming Road, Jing'an district

Philips Health Living Lab chose red as the principal hue for the sculpture, and the installation occupies the entire height of two floors. It depicts a dragon sliding into the building through the outside wall. Its body is covered with written Lunar New Year blessings.


6. "Xixingle Zara" Flash Mob Space

Address: 193 Anfu Road, Xuhui district

Fashion brand Zara and Chinese home decoration brand Xixingle are presenting a pink dragon on Anfu Road. It incorporates classic Chinese motifs, such as dragons and peaches, to interpret Eastern aesthetics in a modern and stylish way.

Wang Xin and Yang Junzhou contributed to this story