It’s finals week! I hope everyone (for whom it’s applicable) is putting the finishing touches on their projects and ready for winter break!
Literally: picture – dragon – point; dot – pupil (of the eye)
Alternately: Putting the finishing touches on something. Making a written or visual work of art vivid and complete with some final, vital addition. Painting in the pupil in the eye of a dragon.
Notes: Note that 竜 is pronounced ryou here rather than the more common ryuu. Be careful not to replace 睛 with the similar-looking 晴: the former pairs the eye radical with the old-style “blue” character, while the latter pairs the sun radical with the modern version. It is acceptable, but uncommon, to replace 竜 with 龍 without any change in meaning or pronunciation.
This compound is often used when something is lacking, as 画竜点睛を欠く (~ wo kaku).
This compound comes from ancient China. There’s a story of the painter Zhang Sengyou, who was commissioned to paint some dragons on a temple wall, but left out the pupils. Here there is some variation in the story, but someone – either Zhang himself, under pressure, or a meddler – added pupils to one or two of the dragons, at which point they came to life, extricated themselves from the wall they’d been painted on, and flew off amid thunder and lightning; no doubt very very frightening.