Confucius Chinese Calligraphy Wall Scroll

You can choose from many options for Confucius-related words, phrases, or proverbs on a wall scroll or portrait in Chinese or Japanese. Thousands of years after this man walked the earth, his words still resonate in the hearts and minds of many in the Orient.
Start your project by clicking on the button next to your favorite Confucius-related title below...

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Confucius
  2. The Five Tenets of Confucius
  3. Confucius: Golden Rule / Ethic of Reciprocity
  4. Confucius: Universal Education
  5. Great Aspirations / Ambition
  6. Believe / Faith / Trust
  7. Benevolence
  8. The Brave Have No Fears
  9. Clarity
10. The Foundation of Good Conduct
11. The Ease of the Scholar
12. Daoism / Taoism
13. Filial Piety / Filial Conduct
14. Filial Piety
15. The Dao of Filial Piety
16. Forgive and Forget
17. Forgiveness
18. Free Will
19. One Justice Can Overpower 100 Evils
20. Justice / Rectitude / Right Decision
21. Learn New Ways From Old
22. Respect
23. Scholar / Confucian
24. Wisdom


Confucius

China kǒng zǐ
Japan koushi
Confucius Wall Scroll

孔子 is how to write the name of the great sage, known in the west as Confucius. His real name is Kongzi (The name Confucius is a westernized version of his name - his family name is Kong, and "zi" was added as a title of distinction). He lived some 2500 years ago in Qufu, a town in modern-day Shandong Province of Northern China (about 6 hours south of Beijing by bus). He was a consort to Emperors, and after his death, the impact of his philosophies still served to advise emperors, officials, and common people for generations. Also during these thousands of years, the Kong family remained powerful in China, and the Kong estate was much like the Vatican in Rome. The Kong estate existed as if on sovereign ground with its own small garrison of guards and privileges of a kingdom within an empire.

This was true up until the time the Kong family had to flee to Taiwan in 1949 when the Red Army took victory over the Nationalists during the Revolution. The home of Confucius was later razed and all statues defaced or stolen during the Cultural Revolution. Finally, after years of smearing his name and image, it is once again okay to celebrate the teachings of Confucius in mainland China.

The Five Tenets of Confucius

The Five Cardinal Rules / Virtues of Confucius
China rén yì lǐ zhì xìn
Japan jin gi rei tomo nobu
The Five Tenets of Confucius Wall Scroll

These are the core of Confucius philosophy. Simply stated they are:
benevolence / charity
justice / rectitude
courtesy / politeness / tact
wisdom / knowledge
fidelity / trust / sincerity

Many of these concepts can be found in various religious teachings. Though it should be clearly understood that Confucianism is not a religion but should instead be considered a moral code for a proper and civilized society.

This title is also labeled, "5 Confucian virtues."


礼 If you order this from the Japanese calligrapher, expect the middle Kanji to be written in a more simple form (as seen to the right). This can also be romanized as "jin gi rei satoshi shin" in Japanese. Not all Japanese will recognize this as Confucian tenets but they will know all the meanings of the characters.


See Also:  Confucius Teachings | Ethics

Confucius: Golden Rule / Ethic of Reciprocity

Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself
China jǐ suǒ bú yù wù shī yú rén
Confucius: Golden Rule / Ethic of Reciprocity Wall Scroll

Some may think of this as a "Christian trait" but actually it transcends many religions.

This Chinese teaching dates back to about 2,500 years ago in China. Confucius had always taught the belief in being benevolent (ren) but this idea was hard to grasp for some of his students, as benevolence could be kind-heartedness, or an essence of humanity itself.

When answering Zhong Gong's question as to what "ren" actually meant, Confucius said:

"When you go out, you should behave as if you were in the presence of a distinguished guest, when people do favors for you, act as if a great sacrifice was made for you. Whatever you wouldn't like done to you, do not do that thing to others. Don't complain at work or at home."

Hearing this, Zhong Gong said humbly, "Although I am not clever, I will do what you say."

From this encounter, the Chinese version of the "Golden Rule" or "Ethic of Reciprocity" came to be.
The characters you see above express, "Do not do to others whatever you do not want done to yourself."


See Also:  Confucius Teachings | Benevolence

Confucius: Universal Education

China zì xíng shù xiū yǐ shàng wú wèi cháng wú huì yān
Confucius: Universal Education Wall Scroll

This quote from the Analects of Confucius translates as:

For anyone who brings even the smallest token of appreciation, I have yet to refuse instruction.

Another way to put it is: If a student (or potential student) shows just an ounce of interest, desire, or appreciation for the opportunity to learn, a teacher should offer a pound of knowledge.


This was written over 2500 years ago. The composition is in ancient Chinese grammar and phrasing. A modern Chinese person would need a background in Chinese literature to understand this without the aid of a reference.

Great Aspirations / Ambition

China hóng hú zhī zhì
Great Aspirations / Ambition Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb implies that having great ambitions also means that others will not understand your great expectations and ideas.

Though the actual words come from a longer saying of Confucius which goes, "The little swallows living under the eaves wouldn't understand the lofty ambitions of a swan (who flies far and wide)."

This Confucius quote has led to this idiomatic expression in China that means "think big." What you'd really be saying is "The lofty ambitions of a swan."

Note that Chinese people sometimes refer to the little swallow, as one who does not "think big" but is, instead, stuck in a rut, or just leading a mundane life. Therefore, it's a compliment to be called a swan but not a good thing to be called a swallow.

Believe / Faith / Trust

śraddhā
China xìn
Japan shin
Believe / Faith / Trust Wall Scroll

This character can mean to believe, truth, faith, fidelity, sincerity, trust and confidence in Chinese, old Korean Hanja and Japanese Kanji.

This single character is often part of other words with similar meanings.

It is one of the five basic tenets of Confucius.

In Chinese, it sometimes has the secondary meaning of a letter (as in the mail) depending on context but it will not be read that way when seen on a wall scroll.

In Buddhist context, this is śraddhā (faith through hearing or being taught).


See Also:  Faith | Trust

Benevolence

China rén
Japan jin
Benevolence Wall Scroll

Beyond "benevolence" this character can be also be defined as "charity" or "mercy" depending on context.

The deeper meaning suggests that one should pay alms to the poor, care for those in trouble, and take care of his fellow man (or woman).

仁 is one of the five tenets of Confucius. In fact, it is a subject in which Confucius spent a great deal of time explaining to his disciples.

I have also seen this benevolent-related word translated as perfect virtue, selflessness, love for humanity, humaneness, goodness, good will, or simply "love" in the non-romantic form.

This word is so important to me that I named my second daughter with this character. Her name is "Renni" which means "Benevolent Girl."
-Gary.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here


See Also:  Love | Altruism | Kindness | Charity

The Brave Have No Fears

China yǒng zhě bú jù
Japan yuu sha fu ku
The Brave Have No Fears Wall Scroll

勇者不懼 is a phrase credited to Confucius. It's one of three phrases in a set of things he said. This one means, "Brave people [are] without fear," or "The brave are without fear."

This phrase is originally Chinese but has penetrated Japanese culture as well (many Confucian phrases have) back when Japan borrowed Chinese characters into their language.


This phrase has also been converted into modern Japanese grammar when written as 勇者は懼れず. If you want this version just click on those characters.


See Also:  No Fear

Clarity

China qīng
Japan sei
Clarity Wall Scroll

This word means clarity or clear in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. Looking at the parts of this character, you have three splashes of water on the left, "life" on the top right, and the moon on the lower right.

Because of something Confucius said about 2500 years ago, you can imagine that this character means "live life with clarity like bright moonlight piercing pure water." The Confucian idea is something like "Keep clear what is pure in yourself, and let your pure nature show through." Kind of like saying, "Don't pollute your mind or body, so that they remain clear."

This might be stretching the definition of this single Chinese character but the elements are there, and "clarity" is a powerful idea.


Korean note: Korean pronunciation is given above but this character is written with a slight difference in the "moon radical" in Korean. However, anyone who can read Korean Hanja, will understand this character with no problem (this is considered an alternate form in Korean). If you want the more standard Korean Hanja form (which is an alternate form in Chinese), just let me know.

Japanese note: When reading in Japanese, this Kanji has additional meanings of pure, purify, or cleanse (sometimes to remove demons or "exorcise"). Used more in compound words in Japanese than as a stand-alone Kanji.

The Foundation of Good Conduct

Quote from Confucius
China zhì yú dào jù yú dé yī yú rén yóu yú yì
The Foundation of Good Conduct Wall Scroll

This proverb from the Analects of Confucius translates as:

Resolve yourself in the Dao/Tao/Way.
Rely on Virtue.
Reside in benevolence.
Revel in the arts.

According to Confucius, these are the tenets of good and proper conduct.


This was written over 2500 years ago. The composition is in ancient Chinese grammar and phrasing. A modern Chinese person would need a background in Chinese literature to understand this without the aid of a reference.

The Ease of the Scholar

Quote from Confucius
China mò ér zhì zhī xué ér bù yàn huǐ rén bù juàn hé yòu yú wǒ zāi
The Ease of the Scholar Wall Scroll

This quote from the Analects of Confucius translates as:

To quietly recite and memorize the classics,
to love learning without tiring of it,
never be bored with teaching,
How could these be difficult for me?

默而識之學而不厭誨人不倦何有于我哉 is a suggestion that for a true scholar, all of these things come with ease.


This was written over 2500 years ago. The composition is in ancient Chinese grammar and phrasing. A modern Chinese person would need a background in Chinese literature to understand this without the aid of a reference.

Daoism / Taoism

Literally: The Way or Road
China dào
Japan michi / -do
Daoism / Taoism Wall Scroll

道 is the character "dao" which is sometimes written as "tao" but pronounced like "dow" in Mandarin.

道 is the base of what is known as "Taoism." If you translate this literally, it can mean "the way" or "the path."

Dao is believed to be that which flows through all things, and keeps them in balance. It incorporates the ideas of yin and yang (e.g. there would be no love without hate, no light without dark, no male without female.)

The beginning of Taoism can be traced to a mystical man named
Lao Zi (604-531 BC), who followed, and added to the teachings of Confucius.

More about Taoism / Daoism here.

Note that this is pronounced "dou" and sometimes "michi" when written alone in Japanese but pronounced "do" in word compounds such as Karate-do and Bushido. It's also "do" in Korean.

Alternate translations and meanings: road, way, path; truth, principle province.

Important Japanese note: In Japanese, this will generally be read with the road, way, or path meaning. Taoism is not as popular or well-known in Japan, so that Daoist/Taoist philosophy is not the first thing a Japanese person will think of then they read this character.


See our Taoism Page

Filial Piety / Filial Conduct

China xiào xìng
Japan koukou
Filial Piety / Filial Conduct Wall Scroll

These two characters express the idea of filial piety or filial conduct. The second character suggests "action" so these are the actions you take to show your respect and obedience to your elders or ancestors.

Confucius is probably the first great advocate for filial piety.

Filial Piety

China xiào
Japan kou
Filial Piety Wall Scroll

This character represents filial piety. Some will define this in more common English as "respect for your parents and ancestors."

孝 is a subject deeply emphasized by the ancient philosophy and teachings of Confucius.

Some have included this in the list for the Bushido, although generally not considered part of the 7 core virtues of the warrior.

Note: This character is not the best of meanings when seen along as a single character. Some will read the single character form to mean "missing my dead ancestors." However, when written at part of Confucian tenets, or in the two-character word that means filial piety, the meaning is better or read differently (context is important for this character).

We suggest one of our other two-character filial piety entries instead of this one.


See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here


See Also:  Filial Piety

The Dao of Filial Piety

China xiào dào
Japan kou dou
The Dao of Filial Piety Wall Scroll

These two characters most clearly express the Confucian philosophy of filial piety. Confucius taught that all should be respectful and obedient to their parents. Included in this idea is honoring your ancestors.

The second character is "dao/tao" or "the way" as in Taoism. You can say this title is "The Tao of Filial Piety" or "The Way of Filial Piety."

Forgive and Forget

Confucian Proverb
China bú niàn jiù è
Forgive and Forget Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb comes from the Analects of Confucius. It can be translated as, "Do not recall old grievances," or more simply as, "Forgive and forget."

The character breakdown:
不 (bù) not; no; don't.
念 (niàn) read aloud.
舊 (jiù) old; former.
惡 (è) wicked deeds; grievances; sins.

Forgiveness

China shù
Forgiveness Wall Scroll

This character means to forgive, show mercy, absolve, or excuse in Chinese and Korean Hanja (though mostly used in compound words in Korean).

This character incorporates the pictogram of a heart at the bottom, and a woman and a mouth at the top. The heart portion has the most significance, as it is suggested that it is the heart's nature to forgive.
In Asian culture, as with most other cultures, forgiveness is an act of benevolence and altruism. In forgiving, you put yourself in someone else's shoes and show them the kindness that you would want them to show you. Confucius referred to this quality as "human-heartedness."

Free Will

China zì yóu yì zhì
Japan jiyuu ishi
Free Will Wall Scroll

This concept has existed for thousands of years that humans have the ability to understand right and wrong, then make a decision one way or the other (thus affecting their own fate).

Sources such as Confucius, Buddhist scriptures, the Qur'an and the Bible all address this idea.

As for the characters shown here, the first two mean free, freedom, or liberty. The last two simply mean "will."


See Also:  Freedom | Strong Willed | Fate

One Justice Can Overpower 100 Evils

China yī zhèng yā bǎi xié
One Justice Can Overpower 100 Evils Wall Scroll

This ancient "One Justice Can Overpower a Hundred Evils" idiom and proverb is famous in China. But it has been around so long that its origins have long been forgotten.

It could be something that Confucius or one of his disciples said but no one can say for sure.

Justice / Rectitude / Right Decision

Also means: honor loyalty morality righteousness
China
Japan gi
Justice / Rectitude / Right Decision Wall Scroll

義 is about doing the right thing or making the right decision, not because it's easy but because it's ethically and morally correct.

No matter the outcome or result, one does not lose face if tempering proper justice.

This character can also be defined as righteousness, justice, morality, honor, or "right conduct." In more a more expanded definition, it can mean loyalty to friends, loyalty to the public good, or patriotism. This idea of loyalty and friendship comes from the fact that you will treat those you are loyal to with morality and justice.

義 is also one of the five tenets of Confucius doctrine.

儀 There's also an alternate version of this character sometimes seen in Bushido or Korean Taekwondo tenets. It's just the addition of a radical on the left side of the character. If you want this version, click on the image to the right instead of the button above.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here


See Also:  Judgment | Impartial | Confucius Tenets

Learn New Ways From Old

New ideas coming from past history
China wēn gù zhī xīn
Japan on ko chi shin
Learn New Ways From Old Wall Scroll

溫故知新 is a proverb from Confucius that is used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures.

It can be translated several ways:
Coming up with new ideas based on things learned in the past.
Examine things of the past, and obtain the new knowledge.
Developing new ideas based on study of the past.
Gain new insights through restudying old issues.
Understand the present by reviewing the past.
Learning from the past.
Review the old and know the new.
Taking a lesson from the past.
Taking a lesson from the wisdom of the ancients.
Follow the old ways.

The direct translation would be, "By asking old things know new things."
The Character meanings breakdown this way:
溫故 = ask old
知新 = know new

Explained: To learn new things that are outside of your experience, you can learn from old things of the past. You can find wisdom from history.


温 Note: Japanese use a simplified version of the first Kanji in modern times. So if you order this from our Japanese master calligrapher, expect the first Kanji to look like the one shown to the right.

Respect (Japanese / Simplified version)

Can also be a sign of gratitude
China
Japan rei
Respect (Japanese / Simplified version) Wall Scroll

We show respect by speaking and acting with courtesy. We treat others with dignity and honor the rules of our family, school and nation. Respect yourself, and others will respect you.

禮 is also one of the five tenets of Confucius.

This character can also be translated as propriety, good manners, politeness, rite, worship or an expression of gratitude.

Chinese RespectPlease note that Japanese use a simplified version of the character for respect - it also happens to be the same simplification used in mainland China. Click on the character to the right if you want the Traditional Chinese version.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here

Scholar / Confucian

China
Japan ju
Scholar / Confucian Wall Scroll

儒 is a unique single character that means scholar or Confucian, and leaves a favorable impression when read in Chinese.

Specifically in Japanese Kanji, this means Confucianism, Confucianist or Chinese scholar.

In old Korean Hanja this means scholar, Confucian scholar, Confucianist, or learned (one who has learned and knows much).

Basically, it's the same in all three languages.

Wisdom

China zhì
Japan chi / tomo
Wisdom Wall Scroll

智 is the simplest way to write wisdom in Chinese, Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji.
Being a single character, the wisdom meaning is open to interpretation, and can also mean intellect, knowledge or reason, resourcefulness, or wit.

This character is also one of the five tenets of Confucius.

This character is sometimes included in the Bushido code but usually not considered part of the seven key concepts of the code.


See our Wisdom in Chinese, Japanese and Korean page for more wisdom-related calligraphy.


See Also:  Learn From Wisdom




Buy some related in-stock artwork?

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $78.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $69.88


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

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Confucius 孔子koushi / koshikǒng zǐ / kong3 zi3 / kong zi / kongzi k`ung tzu / kungtzu / kung tzu
The Five Tenets of Confucius 仁義禮智信
仁义礼智信
jin gi rei tomo nobu
jingireitomonobu
rén yì lǐ zhì xìn
ren2 yi4 li3 zhi4 xin4
ren yi li zhi xin
renyilizhixin
jen i li chih hsin
jenilichihhsin
Confucius: Golden Rule
Ethic of Reciprocity
己所不欲勿施於人
己所不欲勿施于人
jǐ suǒ bú yù wù shī yú rén
ji3 suo3 bu2 yu4, wu4 shi1 yu2 ren2
ji suo bu yu, wu shi yu ren
jisuobuyu,wushiyuren
chi so pu yü, wu shih yü jen
chisopuyü,wushihyüjen
Confucius: Universal Education 自行束脩以上吾未嘗無誨焉 (note 嘗 = 嚐)
自行束脩以上吾未尝无诲焉
zì xíng shù xiū yǐ shàng wú wèi cháng wú huì yān
zi4 xing2 shu4 xiu1 yi3 shang4 wu2 wei4 chang2 wu2 hui4 yan1
zi xing shu xiu yi shang wu wei chang wu hui yan
tzu hsing shu hsiu i shang wu wei ch`ang wu hui yen
tzu hsing shu hsiu i shang wu wei chang wu hui yen
Great Aspirations
Ambition
鴻鵠之誌
鸿鹄之志
hóng hú zhī zhì
hong2 hu2 zhi1 zhi4
hong hu zhi zhi
honghuzhizhi
hung hu chih chih
hunghuchihchih
Believe
Faith
Trust
shinxìn / xin4 / xin hsin
Benevolence jinrén / ren2 / ren jen
The Brave Have No Fears 勇者不懼
勇者不惧
yuu sha fu ku
yuushafuku
yu sha fu ku
yushafuku
yǒng zhě bú jù
yong3 zhe3 bu2 ju4
yong zhe bu ju
yongzhebuju
yung che pu chü
yungchepuchü
Clarity seiqīng / qing1 / qing ch`ing / ching
The Foundation of Good Conduct 誌于道據于德依于仁遊于藝
志于道据于德依于仁游于艺
zhì yú dào jù yú dé yī yú rén yóu yú yì
zhi4 yu2 dao4 ju4 yu2 de2 yi1 yu2 ren2 you2 yu2 yi4
zhi yu dao ju yu de yi yu ren you yu yi
chih yü tao chü yü te i yü jen yu yü i
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.