Dragon skeleton sculpture made from real bones

Craft & Design
Chugach Draegon 1 AM.jpg
Chugach Draegon 4 PM.jpg
Skull of Chugach Draegon.jpg
Veil of Tears sword and Draegon.jpg
Veil of Tears Tourmaline butt cap.jpg

There are lots of custom knife-makers out there, and plenty that specialize in exotic or fantasy knives, but there is only one I know of who has gone so far as to invent a fictional world, complete with geography, mythology, and history, as a context for his work.

Virgil England installed and photographed this life-size dragon skeleton in Chugach National Forest in Alaska in 1990. In his own words:

The part of the Dragon that is exposed is about 18 feet long. The wing is 15 feet high. The skeleton is carved whale bone and forged mild steel with reindeer rawhide stretched and stitched over the bones. I did it to display a 59 1/2 inch two handed sword called “The Veil of Tears”. After the ten hour photo session It went to a three day showing in San Francisco then to the buyers.

Virgil’s handmade knives are highly sought after among collectors, and you can view more of his edged work at his personal website. The photos of his “Chugach Draegon” that appear with this post are being published online here for the first time. Click on each to see it at full resolution. [Thanks, Virgil!]

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan


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