The Water Dragon Project

The Water Dragon sculpture will be installed and displayed on the outside of the Chinese Museum in Chinatown, Melbourne in October 2012.

As this is the year of the Water Dragon, I want to raise awareness for recycling and water issues; I’ll be constructing a fifteen meter long dragon made from recycled bottles.

The dragon will hang 9 meter above Cohen Lane, outside the Chinese Museum entrance. It will be illuminated at night with internal solar-powered lanterns. During the day, it’s semi-transparent form will interact with the lane-way, sky and surroundings.

Bottles After Collection

The raw materials: Recycled plastic drinking bottles.  The labels will be removed, then they will be cut up!

Section of Dragon Body

A large section of the body made from hundreds of bottle-ends, cut off and cable-tied together.

Constructing some of the other body sections.

As part of the project, several workshops were run for school groups at the Chinese Museum.  These resulted in 15, 5-metre long scrolls depicting dragons. These paintings were then used to inform the shape of the dragon sculpture.  The scrolls will also be on display inside the Chinese Museum.

Bottles Everywhere!

Our house has been somewhat transformed during this project.

Fleshing out the Skull

A skeleton of polycarbonate was used to provide a basic, lightweight structure to base the head upon.

The first version of the dragon eye, using an overhead projector lens. Later proven to be too fragile.

It will hang from 21 October, 2012 and be de-installed in May 2013

This project was Commissioned by the City of Melbourne.

COM logo

Dragon Animals

2012 Year of the Dragon

The dragon is one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. It is the only mythical creature amongst the zodiac and it is formed from 9 different animal parts. A dragon year is symbolic of harmony and progress and it occurs every 12th year. Each year of the dragon is also associated with one elemental force. This year, 2012 is a dragon year and it’s elemental force is water. The water element attached a dragon year is said to signify a time of harmony and progress through change.

Flag of the Qing Dynasty 1890–1912

The Animals

On the Dragons head there are large horns that are like the antlers of a deer stag. The head looks like a camel or horse with the ears of a cow and the red eyes of white rabbits. The bright red eyes were also described by scholars as looking like demon eyes! On the top of the head, in the middle of the forehead, there is a lump called a chimu. The chimu is very important as it is what allows the dragon to fly. The head is attached to a long thin body with a thin bendy neck that is like the body of a snake. The underneath of the dragon has a soft rippled belly like the grooves on a clam. All over the body there are large fish scales like those from a carp. The dragon’s feet have the claws of an eagle and the paws of a tiger.


These variations were recorded by the scholar Wang Fu in his collection of myths written in the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) Click here to read the original text.