The ancient Chinese proverb "A Sly Rabbit Will Have Three Openings To Its Den"

We have many options to create artwork with characters of this phrase on a wall scroll or portrait.


A sly rabbit has three openings to its den

-or- The crafty rabbit has three different entrances to its lair
China jiǎo tù sān kū
A sly rabbit has three openings to its den Wall Scroll

This speaks to the cunning character of a sly rabbit. Such a rabbit will not have just one hole but rather a few entrances and exits from his liar.

About 2,250 years ago a very rich man told his assistant to go and buy something wonderful that he did not yet posses. He was a man that already had everything, so the assistant went to a local village that owed a great deal of money to the rich man. The assistant told the village elders that all debts were forgiven. All the villagers rejoiced and praised the rich man's name. The assistant returned to the rich man and told him he had purchased "benevolence" for him. The rich man was mildly amused but perhaps a bit confused by the action.

Some time later, the rich man fell from the favor of the Emperor, and was wiped out without a penny to his name. One day he was walking aimlessly and stumbled into the village in which the debts had been forgiven. The villagers recognized the man and welcomed him with open arms, clothed, fed, and gave him a place to live.

Without trying, the man had become like the sly and cunning rabbit. When his exit was blocked, he had another hole to emerge from - and was reborn. This story and idiom comes from a book titled "The Amendment" - it's unclear whether this man actually existed or not. But the book did propel this idiom into common use in China.

Still today this idiom about the rabbit is used in China when suggesting "backup plans" alternate methods, and anyone with a good escape plan.

Better to be Happy than Rich

China ān pín lè dào
Better to be Happy than Rich Wall Scroll

Even if you are poor, you should still feel satisfied in your life...

...Satisfaction, happiness, and the meaning of your life come from within yourself and not from money or riches of the world.

In Chinese, there are a lot of four-character proverbs which express some very old philosophies.
Though there are only four characters on this scroll, in Chinese the meanings often surpass the dictionary definition of each character.

In this case, you should not set your expectations too high for the amount to money or riches you wish to have. One who sets their expectations too high is almost always disappointed. Instead, you should cherish what you have, and seek to improve yourself from within, and not measure your personal worth by the size of your bank account.


The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersVarious forms of Romanized Chinese
A sly rabbit has three openings to its den 狡兔三窟jiǎo tù sān kū
jiao3 tu4 san1 ku1
jiao tu san ku
jiaotusanku
chiao t`u san k`u
chiaotusanku
chiao tu san ku
Better to be Happy than Rich 安貧樂道
安贫乐道
ān pín lè dào
an1 pin2 le4 dao4
an pin le dao
anpinledao
an p`in le tao
anpinletao
an pin le tao
In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.

All of our calligraphy wall scrolls are handmade.

When the calligrapher finishes creating your artwork, it is taken to my art mounting workshop in Beijing where a wall scroll is made by hand from a combination of silk, rice paper, and wood.
After we create your wall scroll, it takes at least two weeks for air mail delivery from Beijing to you.

Allow a few weeks for delivery. Rush service speeds it up by a week or two for $10!

When you select your calligraphy, you'll be taken to another page where you can choose various custom options.


A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
single-character wall scroll.
We also offer custom wall scrolls in small, medium, and an even-larger jumbo size.

A professional Chinese Calligrapher

Professional calligraphers are getting to be hard to find these days.
Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.

There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

Even with the teachings of a top-ranked calligrapher in China, my calligraphy will never be good enough to sell. I will leave that to the experts.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

The same calligrapher who gave me those lessons also attracted a crowd of thousands and a TV crew as he created characters over 6-feet high. He happens to be ranked as one of the top 100 calligraphers in all of China. He is also one of very few that would actually attempt such a feat.