In Chinese mythology, the dragon is regarded as a guardian creature. It guards the realm between heaven and earth and it has been said that dragons come down to man with helpful messages. In this painting, Chi-Jen Liu combines the dragon with the constellation – a vision he calls "Dragon Constellation." He says when golden dragons are formed by the alignment of the stars, it is a blessing from heaven. The poem in this piece states: "Meditate on this... Dragon Constellation holds secret codes. Blessings of fame, leadership and genius unfold."
The deities in the sky and meditating monks on the islands remind us to reach our goals with mindfulness, morality, understanding of karma, mental focus, and clarity. Flying birds and sailboats are symbolic of smooth sailing in our endeavors. The year Chi-Jen Liu made this piece (2014), the dog was considered an auspicious sign in accordance to the Chinese lunar calendar. Therefore, a pair of dogs are depicted on each their own mountaintop, gazing upward to guide our eyes to look toward the Dragon Constellation.
The pine trees that dot the floating islands are symbolic of longevity and wisdom. These types of trees are sturdy and survive in harsh environments. Pine trees prevent erosion by the depth of their roots inside the stone they live on. Chi-Jen Liu often portrays pine trees in his work because they are nature's way of reminding us to cultivate moral character and physical strength so that we, too, can withstand challenges and gather life wisdom from our obstacles.