Custom "Dear Grandfather" or "Loving Grandfather" Chinese Calligraphy

Before you see all of the listings below, you should note that there are several ways to say "Grandfather". And you might as well learn about some of the complexities of other family terms in Chinese...

Unlike English, in Chinese, there is a different name for every family member depending on if they are on your mother's side or father's side. For some family titles such as brothers, sisters, and cousins, the names vary depending on age differences. For instance, a male cousin on your mother's side who is older than you is your "biao ge". If this cousin was younger, female, or on your father's side, the title-name changes.

Luckily for grandparents, there is not an older or younger issue. However, there are northern and southern terms for grandparents in China. I guess this is like in America, you might say "sofa" or "couch" depending on where you are from, and if you are from a generation ago, a "sofa" is a "davenport".

For "Grandfather", there is paternal and maternal term which is set in stone. You would NEVER use a paternal term for your maternal grandfather, and vice versa.

Things in Northern China:
Beijing, The Great Wall, Inner-Mongolia,
Tsing Tao Beer, bad weather.

Things in Southern China:
Shanghai, Guilin's Li River, Pandas,
Szechuan (Sichuan) cooking, Hong Kong.

The northern and southern Chinese terms are more flexible - sometimes they are mixed depending on the family. And if there was a marriage between a northern family and southern family, all bets are off as to what someone is going to call their grandfather.

Neither the northern nor southern terms are incorrect - and no matter where they are from, north or south, everybody knows both terms. I will leave it to you if you feel more northern or sothern Chinese.

You'll also find one case of an informal grandfather term which is probably the English equivalent of saying "grandpa" or "pappy"

It would "feel strange" to just have "grandfather" on a wall scroll alone. To be a proper gift, and to "feel right", you need to say something about your grandfather. Therefore you will find the Chinese word for "dear" or "loving" in front of each grandfather term. If you really want just a plain "grandfather" without the adjective, or you want a different adjective, just email me - we'll be happy to help.

Please note that the characters in the boxes below are written in the traditional way, vertically from right to left - so it works out that the term for grandfather appears in the left column.
It's a little tough to correctly display and explain passages of Chinese characters for an English audience when we read English from left to right, and are not used to seeing something in written form that starts on the right.

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Grandfather
  2. Loving Grandfather
  3. Dear Grandfather
  4. Loving Grandfather
  5. Dear Grandfather
  6. Loving Grandfather
  7. Dear Grandfather
  8. Loving Grandfather
  9. Dear Grandfather
10. Honor for Ancestors


Grandfather

China zǔ fù
Japan so fu
Grandfather Wall Scroll

祖父 is a title for grandfather in Japanese. In Chinese, this is specifically paternal grandfather.

This title alone is not normal for a calligraphy wall scroll.

Loving Grandfather

Maternal (Northern China)
China cí xiáng de lǎo ye
Loving Grandfather Wall Scroll

慈祥的老爺 is what you would call your maternal grandfather (mother's father) in Northern China with the adjective/title "Dear" on the front.

Dear Grandfather

Maternal (Northern China)
China qín ài de lǎo ye
Dear Grandfather Wall Scroll

親愛的姥爺 is what you would call your maternal grandfather (mother's father) in Northern China with the adjective/title "Dear" on the front.

Loving Grandfather

Maternal (Southern China)
China cí xiáng de wài zǔ fù
Loving Grandfather Wall Scroll

This is "Loving Grandfather" in the formal way that people in Southern China usually call their mother's father (maternal grandfather).

Loving Grandfather

Maternal (Southern China - Informal)
China cí xiáng de wài gōng
Loving Grandfather Wall Scroll

慈祥的外公 is "Loving Grandfather" using an informal way to call your maternal grandfather (mother's father) in Southern China.

Dear Grandfather

Maternal (Southern China)
China qín ài de wài zǔ fù
Dear Grandfather Wall Scroll

This is the formal way that people in Southern China usually call their mother's father (maternal grandfather) with the adjective/title "Dear" on the front.

Dear Grandfather

Maternal (Southern China - Informal)
China qín ài de wài gōng
Dear Grandfather Wall Scroll

親愛的外公 is an informal way to call your maternal grandfather (mother's father) in Southern China with the adjective/title "Dear" on the front.

Loving Grandfather

Paternal (Northern China)
China cí xiáng de yé ye
Loving Grandfather Wall Scroll

慈祥的爺爺 is "Loving Grandfather" using the most common way for people in Northern China to refer to their father's father (paternal grandfather).

Dear Grandfather

Paternal (Northern China)
China qín ài de yé ye
Dear Grandfather Wall Scroll

親愛的爺爺 is the most common way for people in Northern China to refer to their father's father (paternal grandfather) with the adjective/title "Dear" on the front.

Loving Grandfather

Paternal (Southern China)
China cí xiáng de zǔ fù
Loving Grandfather Wall Scroll

慈祥的祖父 is "Loving Grandfather" in the way people in Southern China call their father's father (paternal grandfather).

Dear Grandfather

Paternal (Southern China)
China qín ài de zǔ fù
Dear Grandfather Wall Scroll

親愛的祖父 is the how people in Southern China call their father's father (paternal grandfather) with the adjective/title "Dear" on the front.

Honor for Ancestors

China zǔ xiān chóng bài
Japan so sen suu hai
Honor for Ancestors Wall Scroll

This means "Appreciation and honor of your ancestors." This can refer to anyone from your grandparents and beyond.

The first two characters mean ancestors or forefathers.

The last two characters mean adore, worship, adoration, or admiration.

This is the kind of wall scroll that a filial son or daughter in China or Japan would hang to honor their ancestors who paved the way for the new generation.


拝Japanese use a slight variation on the last Kanji. If you want this specifically Japanese version, just click on the Kanji image to the right (instead of the button above). Note that Japanese people would easily be able to identify the original Chinese form of that Kanji anyway.

They also have a similar phrase in old Korean but the first two characters are reversed - just let me know if you want that version when you place your order.


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

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Grandfather 祖父so fu / sofuzǔ fù / zu3 fu4 / zu fu / zufu tsu fu / tsufu
Loving Grandfather 慈祥的老爺
慈祥的老爷
cí xiáng de lǎo ye
ci2 xiang2 de lao3 ye
ci xiang de lao ye
cixiangdelaoye
tz`u hsiang te lao yeh
tzuhsiangtelaoyeh
tzu hsiang te lao yeh
Dear Grandfather 親愛的姥爺
亲爱的姥爷
qín ài de lǎo ye
qin2 ai4 de lao3 ye
qin ai de lao ye
qinaidelaoye
ch`in ai te lao yeh
chinaitelaoyeh
chin ai te lao yeh
Loving Grandfather 慈祥的外祖父cí xiáng de wài zǔ fù
ci2 xiang2 de wai4 zu3 fu4
ci xiang de wai zu fu
cixiangdewaizufu
tz`u hsiang te wai tsu fu
tzuhsiangtewaitsufu
tzu hsiang te wai tsu fu
Loving Grandfather 慈祥的外公cí xiáng de wài gōng
ci2 xiang2 de wai4 gong1
ci xiang de wai gong
cixiangdewaigong
tz`u hsiang te wai kung
tzuhsiangtewaikung
tzu hsiang te wai kung
Dear Grandfather 親愛的外祖父
亲爱的外祖父
qín ài de wài zǔ fù
qin2 ai4 de wai4 zu3 fu4
qin ai de wai zu fu
qinaidewaizufu
ch`in ai te wai tsu fu
chinaitewaitsufu
chin ai te wai tsu fu
Dear Grandfather 親愛的外公
亲爱的外公
qín ài de wài gōng
qin2 ai4 de wai4 gong1
qin ai de wai gong
qinaidewaigong
ch`in ai te wai kung
chinaitewaikung
chin ai te wai kung
Loving Grandfather 慈祥的爺爺
慈祥的爷爷
cí xiáng de yé ye
ci2 xiang2 de ye2 ye
ci xiang de ye ye
cixiangdeyeye
tz`u hsiang te yeh yeh
tzuhsiangteyehyeh
tzu hsiang te yeh yeh
Dear Grandfather 親愛的爺爺
亲爱的爷爷
qín ài de yé ye
qin2 ai4 de ye2 ye
qin ai de ye ye
qinaideyeye
ch`in ai te yeh yeh
chinaiteyehyeh
chin ai te yeh yeh
Loving Grandfather 慈祥的祖父cí xiáng de zǔ fù
ci2 xiang2 de zu3 fu4
ci xiang de zu fu
cixiangdezufu
tz`u hsiang te tsu fu
tzuhsiangtetsufu
tzu hsiang te tsu fu
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.