Buy a Custom King Chinese or Japanese Calligraphy Wall Scroll

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If you want to create a cool King Asian character tattoo, you can purchase that on our Chinese and Japanese Tattoo Image Service page and we'll help you select from many forms of ancient Asian symbols that express the idea of King.

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. King
  2. Animal Kingdom
  3. Lion King
  4. Monkey King
  5. Blue Dragon / Azure Dragon
  6. Banzai / Wansui
  7. Banzai
  8. Black Dragon
  9. Boys be Ambitious
10. Christmas
11. Corinthians 13:4
12. Destiny / Fate
13. Diamond
14. Dragon / Emperor Symbol
15. Dragon and Phoenix
16. Dragon Spirit
17. Drunken Monkey
18. Drunken Monkey Kung Fu
19. Earth Dragon
20. Emperor
21. Grace / Favor
22. Emperor of Japan
23. Empress
24. Destiny Determined by Heaven
25. The one who retreats 50 paces mocks the one to retreats 100
26. Begging Forgiveness
27. Forgiveness
28. Fujin
29. Genghis Khan
30. Goldfish
31. Grace from Heaven / Grace from God
32. Words Have Enormous Weight...
33. Glory and Honor
34. John 14:15
35. John 14:18
36. John 3:16
37. Lion Heart
38. Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened,...
39. Master / Skilled Worker
40. Monkey Stealing Peaches
41. Monkey Fist
42. Mountain Travels Poem by Dumu
43. Neptune / Poseidon
44. Better Late Than Never
45. Appreciation and Love for Your Parents
46. Past experience is the teacher for the future.
47. Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks
48. Phoenix
49. Prince
50. Qin / Chin
51. Qin / Chin / Yasushi
52. Queen
53. Queen / Empress
54. Samurai
55. Shaolin
56. Shidai / Sida / Mahabhuta
57. A sly rabbit has three openings to its den
58. Sun Wukong / Son Goku
59. Tea Fate
60. Tiger Rumor
61. Unselfish: Perfectly Impartial
62. Water Dragon / Rain Dragon
63. White Dragon
64. Work Unselfishly for the Common Good
65. Wukong / Goku
66. Five Ancestors Fist
67. Xishi / Xi Shi
68. Yellow
69. Yellow Dragon
70. Tiger
71. Dragon


King

China wáng
HK wong
Japan ou
King Wall Scroll

王 is wang which means king. It is not pronounced the way you think in Chinese. It is more like English-speakers would want to pronounce wong. It has roughly the same vowel sound as tong, song, or long in English.

Note that this means king only, not emperor. An emperor is higher than a king, and theoretically is chosen by God, according to ancient Chinese culture. However, the definition is often blurred at various points in Asian history.

王 can also be defined as ruler, sovereign, monarch or magnate. It is also can refer to a game piece in the chess-like Japanese strategic game of shoji.

Note: This can also be a family name in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese (in Vietnamese it's Vương).


See Also:  Queen

Animal Kingdom

China dòng wù wáng guó
Japan doubutsu oukoku
Animal Kingdom Wall Scroll

動物王國 is literally what it says.

There is even a TV show in China that is similar to Wild Kingdom or what you would currently see on the Discovery Channel that has this same title.

For your information: In the Chinese way of thinking, the Tiger is the king of the animal kingdom (lions are not native to China, so the tiger took the role that we have given to the lion in our western way of thinking).

The Japanese version has a slight variation on the last character. Let me know if your audience is Japanese, and we will have it written in that form for you.

Lion King

China shī zǐ wáng
Japan shi shi ou
Lion King Wall Scroll

獅子王 is the Chinese title for "The Lion King" (also associated with the Disney movie).

This has the "Lion King" meaning in Japanese however, not in association with the movie you are thinking of. 獅子王 is also a Japanese surname that romanizes as Shishiou.

Monkey King

China měi hóu wáng
Monkey King Wall Scroll

美猴王 is the specific title for "Monkey King." A character made famous by the ancient novel, Journey to the West. It literally means "Handsome/Beautiful Monkey King."


See Also:  Monkey Fist | Drunken Monkey

Monkey King

China hóu wáng
Monkey King Wall Scroll

猴王 is the short title for "Monkey King." This can refer to the character made famous by the ancient novel, Journey to the West.

This literally reads "Monkey King." However, this title is open to interpretation, and could be used for someone who is the boss of the primate exhibit at the zoo, or certain characters in Chinese opera.


See Also:  Monkey Fist | Drunken Monkey

Blue Dragon / Azure Dragon

China qīng lóng
Japan sei ryuu
Blue Dragon / Azure Dragon Wall Scroll

青龍 / 靑龍 is a scholarly title for "Blue Dragon" or "Azure Dragon."

You'll find this title used in ancient Chinese literature and astronomy. This dragon has dominion over the eastern sky or eastern heavens. The Azure Dragon is also noted for representing the spring season. Also seen as an auspicious omen.

Emperor Huizong of the Song Dynasty canonized the five colored dragons as "kings." The Azure Dragon representing the most compassionate of kings.

In Japanese, this title is known with the same meaning but can also be a given name, Seiryuu.


Note, the first character can be written as 青 OR 靑. Same character, just two ways to write it.

Banzai / Wansui

Old Japanese / Traditional Chinese & Korean
China wàn suì
Japan banzai / manzai
Banzai / Wansui Wall Scroll

We've made two almost identical entries for this word. This is the traditional Chinese, Korean Hanja, and ancient Japanese way to write banzai. In modern times, the first character was simplified in Japan and China. So you might want to select the other entry for more universal readability.

While it has become a popular if not an odd thing to scream as you jump out of an airplane (preferably with a parachute attached), banzai is actually a very old Asian way to say "hooray." The Japanese word "banzai" comes from the Chinese word "wan sui" which means "The age of 10,000 years." It is actually a wish that the Emperor or the Empire live that long.

Imagine long ago as the Emperor made a rare public appearance. This is what all of the people would yell to their leader in respect.

So if you like is as a hooray, or you want to wish someone that they live for 10,000 years, this is the calligraphy for you.

Other translations include: Cheers! (not the drinking kind), hurrah!, long live [name]!, congratulations!

To other things with banzai in their names; I am still waiting for the promised sequel to Buckaroo Banzai.

Notes: Sometimes people confuse banzai with bonsai. A bonsai is a miniature tree. They have nothing to do with each other. Further, bonzai is not a word at all - although it would make a great name for a calcium supplement for older people.

Banzai

Modern Japanese Version
China wàn suì
Japan banzai
Banzai Wall Scroll

We've made two almost identical entries for this word. This is the modern Japanese way to write banzai. In the last century, the first character was simplified in Japan and China. The new generation will expect it to be written this way but the old generation can still read the more traditional form. You must make your own determination as to what version is best for you. If your audience is mostly Japanese, I suggest this form.

While it has become a popular if not an odd thing to scream as you jump out of an airplane (preferably with a parachute attached), banzai is actually a very old Asian way to say "hooray." The Japanese word "banzai" comes from the Chinese word "wan sui" which means "The age of 10,000 years." It is actually a wish that the Emperor or the Empire live that long.

Imagine long ago as the Emperor made a rare public appearance. This is what all of the people would yell to their leader in respect.

So if you like is as a hooray, or you want to wish someone that they live for 10,000 years, this is the calligraphy for you.

To other things with banzai in their names; I am still waiting for the promised sequel to Buckaroo Banzai.

Other translations: hurrah, long life, congratulations, cheers, live long.

Notes: Sometimes people confuse banzai with bonsai. A bonsai is a miniature tree. They have nothing to do with each other. Further, bonzai is not a word at all - although it would make a great name for a calcium supplement for older people.

Black Dragon

China xuān lóng
Black Dragon Wall Scroll

玄龍 is a sophisticated or scholarly way to say, "Black Dragon." 玄龍 is the title you'd expect in ancient Chinese literature.

The first character means black or mysterious.

The second character means dragon.

This black dragon represents a king dwelling in the depths of the mystic waters.

Boys be Ambitious

Quote from William S. Clark in Japan
Japan shou nen yo tai shi o ida ke
Boys be Ambitious Wall Scroll

This was a sort of motto or proverb invoked by William S. Clark, after being hired by the Emperor of Japan in 1876 to establish a university in Hokkaido, Japan.

This phrase is famous across all generations of Japan since that time.


Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.

Christmas

China shèng dàn
Christmas Wall Scroll

聖誕 is how to write Christmas in Chinese. The original meaning was the Emperor's Birthday (and sometimes Confucius' birthday) but in modern times, this is almost exclusively used to refer to the western religious holiday of Christmas.

Corinthians 13:4

All you need to know about LOVE
China ài shì héng jiǔ rěn nài yòu yǒu én cí ài shì bú jì dù ài shì bú zì kuā bù zhāng kuáng
Corinthians 13:4 Wall Scroll

愛是恆久忍耐又有恩慈愛是不嫉妒愛是不自誇不張狂 is 1st Corinthians 13:4 in Chinese.

Chinese Corinthians 13:4 Love

With large "love" character in Xing An-Ping's "Personal Lishu" style.

In English, this reads:

1st Corinthians 13:4 (KJV) Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up...

1st Corinthians 13:4 (NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

1st Corinthians 13:4 (Basic English) Love is never tired of waiting; love is kind; love has no envy; love has no high opinion of itself, love has no pride.

The Chinese translation follows the love meaning, rather than the King James use of "charity." I was a little confused when writing this description with the significant differences between the NIV vs. KJV translations. After speaking to a Greek scholar about this, it would seem that the KJV has an almost errant translation with the use of "charity" in place of "love."

We used the most popular Christian Chinese Bible, which is the Chinese Union Version (CUV). The CUV was first published in 1919. We use this so that the Chinese translation would be as accurate and standard as possible. Any Chinese Christian worth their salt will easily be able to identify this verse when they see these characters.

If you want a big "love" character written above the verse on your artwork, just make a note in the "special instructions" tab when you are customizing your artwork. There is no extra charge for that service on this special verse.

Destiny / Fate

China mìng
Japan inochi / mei
Destiny / Fate Wall Scroll

命 is often translated as "destiny."

Sometimes this character is simply translated as "life" but more in terms of one's lot in life. In certain context, this can mean command or decree (generally from a king or emperor). Of course, such a decree are part of fate and lead you to fulfill your destiny.

In Chinese, this word leans toward the fate or destiny definition.
In Korean, it is usually read simply as "life."
In Japanese, it can mean all definitions shown above, depending on context.


See Also:  Good Fortune

Diamond

China jīn gāng
Japan kon gou
Diamond Wall Scroll

金剛 is a common way to call diamonds in Chinese and Japanese. Traditionally, there were not that many diamonds that made their way to Asia, so this word does not have the deep cultural significance that it does in the west (thanks mostly to De Beers marketing). Therefore, this word was kind of borrowed from other uses.

This title can also refer to vajra (a Sanskrit word meaning both thunderbolt and diamond that originally refers to an indestructible substance); hard metal; pupa of certain insects; Vajrapani, Buddha's warrior attendant; King Kong; adamantine; Buddhist symbol of the indestructible truth.

Dragon / Emperor Symbol

China lóng
Japan ryuu / tatsu
Dragon / Emperor Symbol Wall Scroll

竜 is an alternate form of dragon. Still pronounced the same in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

This particular Kanji is often associated as an imperial symbol as well as representing the mythical Asian dragon. You may have seen it on the chest or flag of the emperor in old Japanese and Chinese movies.

Note: I would rate this as a non-universal alternate form. The other dragon character is by far more common, and universally understood.


We strongly recommend symbol of dragon if you are looking for the symbol of dragon.


See Also:  Phoenix | Emperor

Dragon and Phoenix

China lóng fèng
Japan ryuu hou
Dragon and Phoenix Wall Scroll

龍鳳 is the simplest way to express "Dragon and Phoenix" in Chinese and Japanese.

This title can be used to represent, "The emperor and empress," or a metaphor for an outstanding personage.

It should be noted that this is most often used as a given name "Ryuuhou" in Japanese. It may be read more as the name than by meaning in Japanese.

Dragon Spirit

China lóng shén
Japan ryuu jin
Dragon Spirit Wall Scroll

This Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja title can mean, "dragon god," "dragon king," or "dragon spirit."

In the context of Buddhism, this is one of eight kinds of spiritual beings found in Mahāyāna texts.

Drunken Monkey

China zuì hóu
Drunken Monkey Wall Scroll

醉猴 is the short title for Drunken Monkey (often used as a title for a style of martial arts or kung fu which mimics the movements of a drunk monkey). This martial arts style was inspired by the novel, "Journey to the West."


See Also:  Monkey Fist

Drunken Monkey

Japan yo i saru
Drunken Monkey Wall Scroll

酔い猿 is the Japanese title for Drunken Monkey.


See Also:  Monkey Fist

Drunken Monkey Kung Fu

China zuì hóu gōng fu
Drunken Monkey Kung Fu Wall Scroll

This is the title for Drunken Monkey Kung Fu (Gong Fu). The martial arts style inspired by the novel, "Journey to the West."


See Also:  Monkey Fist

Earth Dragon

China dì lóng
Earth Dragon Wall Scroll

地龍 is the Earth Dragon, king of rivers and seas.

地龍 is sometimes used in Chinese as a nickname for earthworms.

Emperor

China huáng
Japan kou
Emperor Wall Scroll

皇 is the simple, single-character way to write emperor in Chinese and Japanese.


See Also:  Empress | Queen

Emperor

China huáng dì
Japan koutei
Emperor Wall Scroll

From times of old, the emperors of Asia ruled under the authority of God himself. In fact, one definition of an emperor is a ruler put in power by God. This definition separates emperors from the various kings in Chinese history (although defining who is a king versus an emperor gets vague sometimes).

Occasionally, the emperor's wife was widowed, and she took the role of empress until her death (see our entry for empress if that is what you are looking for).


See Also:  Empress | Queen

Grace / Favor

China ēn chǒng
Japan on chou
Grace / Favor Wall Scroll

恩寵 means grace or favor in Chinese characters, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

In ancient China, this was a special favor bestowed from a ruler. It could also be the Emperor's generosity towards a favorite person or concubine.

Emperor of Japan

China tiān huáng
Japan ten nou
Emperor of Japan Wall Scroll

天皇 is the title for the Emperor of Japan. This title is used in China, Korea, and Japan with referring specifically to the Emperor of Japan.

Empress

China huáng hòu
Japan kou gou
Empress Wall Scroll

皇后 is the title of empress or emperess, the female form of emperor. 皇后 is used in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

While the emperor's reign was for life, if he died, his wife would hold his power. In this case, a woman was the ultimate ruler of the greater part of East Asia (what is now China) until her death and the succession of the emperor's first born son to lead the empire. Numerous times in various Chinese dynasties, an empress took power in this way.

The first character means emperor by itself.

The second character alone can mean "wife of an emperor or king" (the first character clarifies that we are talking about an empress, and not a queen). It can also mean sovereign or last offspring, depending on context.

Note: In some books, this word is translated as queen. While only incorrect if you get technical (because an empress is theoretically a higher level than a queen), the meaning is very similar.

皇后 is sometimes used for the title of queen but more technically, this is the wife of the emperor (a higher level than a queen).


See Also:  Emperor | Queen | Phoenix

Destiny Determined by Heaven

China tiān yì
Japan teni
Destiny Determined by Heaven Wall Scroll

天意 is a way to express destiny in a slightly religious way. Literally this means "Heaven's Wish" or "Heaven's Desire" with the idea of fate and destiny being derived as well. It suggests that your destiny comes from God / Heaven and that your path has already been chosen by a higher power.

My Japanese dictionary defines this word as "divine will" or "providence" but it also holds the meaning of "the will of the emperor." Therefore, I don't suggest this phrase if your audience is Japanese - it feels a little strange in Japanese anyway.

The one who retreats 50 paces mocks the one to retreats 100

The pot calls the kettle black
China wù shí bù xiào bǎi bù
The one who retreats 50 paces mocks the one to retreats 100 Wall Scroll

During the Warring States Period of what is now China (475 - 221 B.C.), the King of Wei was in love with war. He often fought with other kingdoms just for spite or fun.

One day, the King of Wei asked the philosopher Mencius, "I love my people, and all say I do the best for them. I move the people from famine-stricken areas to places of plenty, and transport grains from rich areas to the poor. Nobody goes hungry in my kingdom, and I treat my people far better than other kings. But why does the population of my kingdom not increase, and why does the population of other kingdoms not decrease?"

Mencius answered, "Since you love war, I will make this example: When going to war, and the drums beat to start the attack, some soldiers flee for their lives in fear. Some run 100 paces in retreat, and others run 50 steps. Then the ones who retreated 50 paces laugh and taunt those who retreated 100 paces, calling them cowards mortally afraid of death. Do you think this is reasonable?

The King of Wei answered, "Of course not! Those who run 50 paces are just as timid as those who run 100 paces."

Mencius then said, "You are a king who treats his subjects better than other kings treat their people but you are so fond of war, that your people suffer from great losses in battle. Therefore, your population does not grow. While other kings allow their people to starve to death, you send your people to die in war. Is there really any difference?"

This famous conversation led to the six-character proverb shown here. It serves as a warning to avoid hypocrisy. It goes hand-in-hand with the western phrase, "The pot calls the kettle black," or the Biblical phrase, "Before trying to remove a splinter from your neighbor's eye, first remove the plank from your own eye."

Begging Forgiveness

China ráo shù
Begging Forgiveness Wall Scroll

This Chinese word is a kind of forgiveness that you would beg for like a servant begging a master. This can also be the forgiveness that a person would beg from the king or God.

饒恕 suggests that this is forgiveness for something really bad (a terrible crime or sin).

Forgiveness (from the top down)

China róng shè
Japan you sha
Forgiveness (from the top down) Wall Scroll

容赦 is the kind of forgiveness that a king might give to his subjects for crimes or wrong-doings.

容赦 is a rather high-level forgiveness. Meaning that it goes from a higher level to lower (not the reverse).

Alone, the first character can mean "to bear," "to allow" and/or "to tolerate," and the second can mean "to forgive," "to pardon" and/or "to excuse."

When you put both characters together, you get forgiveness, pardon, mercy, leniency, or going easy (on someone).


See Also:  Benevolence

Fujin

China fū ren
Japan fu jin
Fujin Wall Scroll

夫人 is a Japanese word that romanizes as Fujin.

I added this because several people have searched for "Fujin." 夫人 can mean: lady; madam; Mrs.; consort of the emperor; wife; wife of a nobleman (aristocrat, etc.); the wife of a king. 夫人 mean the same thing in Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean.

夫人 is an odd choice for a wall scroll but I have fulfilled your search for "Fujin" I think.

Genghis Khan

China chéng jí sī hán
Japan jin gi su kan
Genghis Khan Wall Scroll

成吉思汗 is the full title for Genghis Khan (1162-1227).

Khan is the title of his position as emperor. Genghis is actually his name.

In Japan, this also means Genghis Khan but is sometimes used to refer to a certain Japanese mutton and vegetable dish or the slotted dome cast iron grill for preparing this dish.

Goldfish

China jīn yú
Japan kin gyo
Goldfish Wall Scroll

金魚 is the title for goldfish in Chinese and Japanese.

There was a time in ancient China when only the Emperor could possess the true yellow-gold colored fish. 金魚 is why alternate coloration such as orange, black, red, and white were bred. Many believe this is why colors other than yellow-gold are more common for "goldfish" found in pet shops today.

Grace from Heaven / Grace from God

China tiān ēn
Grace from Heaven / Grace from God Wall Scroll

天恩 is the deepest way to say "Heaven's Grace" or "God's Grace" in Chinese.

The first character means Heaven or sky (referring in this case to the domain of God).
The second character means grace, blessings, benevolence, favor/favour, acts of kindness, merits, or beneficial influence.

This title can also be defined as:
Blessings of Heaven, Favor of the Emperor, Divination's luckiest day, or blessings of nature. Note: When you see "Emperor" above, keep in mind that the Emperor, like the Pope is theoretically chosen by God, or seen as an emissary or conduit of God in ancient Asian culture. It would only be read that way in a certain context such as, "The Emperor, in his mercy, bestowed upon him Heaven's Grace and the prisoner was set free."


Note: Technically, this is a Japanese word too (pronounced "ten-on") but it's rarely used in Japan anymore. Therefore, this title is best if your audience is Chinese.

Words Have Enormous Weight
One Word Worth Nine Caldrons

China yī yán jiǔ dǐng
Words Have Enormous Weight / One Word Worth Nine Caldrons Wall Scroll

Highly-Valued Bronze Tripod Caldron This is an ancient Chinese proverb used in modern times talk of profound or powerful words.

The literal meaning is, "one word [worth] nine [sacred] tripods." The tripod is a highly-prized three-legged (sometimes four-legged) metal pot or kettle of ancient China. They are often made of bronze, and the Emperor would have very large ones gilded in gold. See the image to the right for an example.

Glory and Honor

China róng
Japan ei
Glory and Honor Wall Scroll

This character relates to giving someone a tribute or praise. It's a little odd as a gift, so this may not be the best selection for a wall scroll.

I've made this entry just because this character is often misused as "honorable" or "keeping your honor." It's not quite the same meaning, as this usually refers to a tribute or giving an honor to someone.

This is often found in tattoo books incorrectly listed as the western idea of personal honor or being honorable. Check with us before you get a tattoo that does not match the meaning you are really looking for. As a tattoo, this suggests that you either have a lot of pride in yourself or that you have a wish for prosperity for you and/or your family.

栄In modern Japanese Kanji, glory and honor looks like the image to the right.

There is a lot of confusion about this character, so here are some alternate translations for this character: prosperous, flourishing, blooming (like a flower), glorious beauty, proud, praise, rich, or it can be the family name "Rong." The context in which the character is used can change the meaning between these various ideas.

In the old days, this could be an honor paid to someone by the Emperor (basically a designation by the Emperor that a person has high standing).

To sum it up: This character has a positive meaning, however, it's a different flavor than the idea of being honorable and having integrity.

John 14:15

China nǐ mén ruò ài wǒ jiù bì zūn shǒu wǒ de mìng lìng
John 14:15 Wall Scroll

你們若愛我就必遵守我的命令 is the translation of John 14:15 into Chinese.

This comes from the Chinese Union Bible which comes from a revised King James version. This Chinese Bible was originally translated and printed in 1919 (several revisions since then).

Because of the origin being the KJV, I'll say that in English, this would be, "If ye love me, keep my commandments.."

In basic English, this would be, "If you have love for me, you will keep my laws."

John 14:18

China wǒ bù piě xià nǐ mén wéi gū ér wǒ bì dào nǐ mén zhè lǐ lái
John 14:18 Wall Scroll

我不撇下你們為孤兒我必到你們這裡來 is the translation of John 14:18 into Chinese.

This comes from the Chinese Union Bible which comes from a revised version of the King James. This Chinese Bible was originally translated and printed in 1919 (several revisions since then).

Because of the origin being the KJV, I'll say that in English, this would be, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.."

In basic English, this would be, "I will not let you be without a friend: I am coming to you."

John 3:16

China shén ài shì rén shèn zhì jiāng tā de dú shēng zǐ cì gè tā mén jiào yí qiè xìn tā de bú zhì miè wáng fǎn dé yǒng shēng
John 3:16 Wall Scroll

神愛世人甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們叫一切信他的不至滅亡反得永生 is the full translation of John 3:16 into Chinese.

This is from the Chinese Union Bible which comes from a revised version of the King James. This Chinese Bible was originally translated and printed in 1919 (several revisions since then).

Because of the origin being the KJV, I'll say that in English, this would be, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."

As with any translation, there are interesting cultural and linguistic issues. For instance, the word used for "world" in Chinese can also mean "common people." So you could say that it means "For God so loved the common people..."
This does not take away from the text, as it will be understood with the same meaning and connotation.

There is no direct Greek to Chinese translation in print (that I know of), so this is the best available. Of course, you can ask any Greek person of faith, and they will claim that a bit is lost from the original Greek of the New Testament to any of the English versions of the Bible in print.

Lion Heart

China shī xīn
Lion Heart Wall Scroll

獅心 is "Lion Heart" in Chinese. The most famous use of this title would be "Richard the Lionheart" also known as King Richard I of England who lived 1189-1199 A.D.

Lion Heart

Japan shi shi shin ou
Lion Heart Wall Scroll

獅子心王 is the Japanese version of the nickname for King Richard the First. It literally means "Lion Heart King." The full title is "リチャード獅子心王" in Japanese, or "Richard Lion Heart King."

If you want a special version of this or a related Lion Heart title, just contact me.

Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened,
Listen to One Side and be in the Dark

China jiān tīng zé míng, piān tīng zé àn
Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened, / Listen to One Side and be in the Dark Wall Scroll

A man named Wei Zheng lived between 580-643 AD. He was a noble and wise historian and minister in the court of the early Tang Dynasty.

The emperor once asked him, "What should an emperor do to understand the real-world situation and what makes an emperor out-of-touch with reality?"

Wei Zheng replied, "Listen to both sides and you will be enlightened; listen to only one side and you will be left in the dark."

Then Wei Zheng went on to site examples of leaders in history that were victorious after heeding both sides of the story, and other leaders that met their doom because they believed one-sided stories which often came from flattering lips.

Please note that there is an unwritten rule when the same character appears twice in the same phrase, the calligrapher will alter the appearance so that no two characters are exactly alike in the same piece. This calligraphy has two repeating characters that will be written differently than they appear here.

Master / Skilled Worker

Secondary version of Sifu
China shī fu
HK si fu
Master / Skilled Worker Wall Scroll

師傅 is “sifu” as in the “master” in the context of martial arts.

But there are two sifu titles floating around. This one can simply mean “skilled worker.”

Historically, this term has been used for a lot of things, such as, “The tutor of a king or emperor.” But now it's more commonly used to mean, master worker, or qualified worker.

Currently, within the field of skilled labor, a master (shifu) is higher than a journeyman, and is considered to be one worthy to teach others.

Note: In the 1970's and 1980's this term was used as a common form of polite address between people. You might say, "master, do you know were Tian'anmen Square is?" to just a person on the street at that time. This usage has almost passed, however, for some reason, people still often refer to taxi cab drivers as "master" in China (though I think/hope this is fading).

In Mandarin Chinese, this is pronounced like "Sure Foo," and in Cantonese like, "See Foo."

The second character is the difference between this sifu and the other. In this case, the second character by itself means tutor, instructor, or teacher.

Monkey Stealing Peaches

Martial arts term
China hóu tōu táo
Monkey Stealing Peaches Wall Scroll

猴子偷桃 is a martial arts term that I find hilarious. I thought Stephen Chow had just made this up for his Monkey King movie. After some research, it turns out to be real.

This can be translated as "monkey stealing peaches" or "monkey steals the peach." It refers to distracting an opponent with one hand and seizing his testicles with the other.

In colloquial Chinese speech, this can refer to grabbing somebody by the balls (without any martial arts technique to the grabbing).

Monkey Fist

China hóu quán
Monkey Fist Wall Scroll

This literally means what you think, it's the "Monkey Fist" school of Kung Fu. A style that mimics the punches and movements of monkeys and apes.

Becoming popular during the Qing Dynasty, this style can trace its origins back to as early as the Song Dynasty. Some of the romance and popularity of this style comes from the novel "Journey to the West" which features the Monkey King and his fighting skills.

This novel and martial arts style has spawned a stream of Hong Kong movies featuring the Monkey King, and other Kung Fu style variations such as "Drunken Monkey" and "Monkey Stealing Peaches" (a technique of disabling your opponent by grabbing and yanking on his testicles).


Note: This kind of makes sense in Korean Hanja and Japanese Kanji but probably unknown by all Koreans and Japanese except those who have an interest in this form of Kung Fu.

Mountain Travels Poem by Dumu

China yuǎn shàng hán shān shí jìng xiá bái yún shēng chù yǒu rén jiā tíng chē zuò ài fēng lín wǎn shuàng yè hóng yú èr yuè huā
Mountain Travels Poem by Dumu Wall Scroll

This poem was written almost 1200 years ago during the Tang dynasty. It depicts traveling up a place known as Cold Mountain, where some hearty people have built their homes. The traveler is overwhelmed by the beauty of the turning leaves of the maple forest that surrounds him just as night overtakes the day, and darkness prevails. His heart implores him to stop, and take in all of the beauty around him.

First before you get to the full translation, I must tell you that Chinese poetry is a lot different than what we have in the west. Chinese words simply don't rhyme in the same way that English, or other western languages do. Chinese poetry depends on rhythm and a certain beat of repeated numbers of characters.

I have done my best to translate this poem keeping a certain feel of the original poet. But some of the original beauty of the poem in it's original Chinese will be lost in translation.

Far away on Cold Mountain, a stone path leads upwards.
Among white clouds peoples homes reside.
Stopping my carriage I must, as to admire the maple forest at nights fall.
In awe of autumn leaves showing more red than even flowers of early spring.

Hopefully, this poem will remind you to stop, and "take it all in" as you travel through life.
The poet's name is "Du Mu" in Chinese that is: 杜牧.
The title of the poem, "Mountain Travels" is: 山行
You can have the title, poet's name, and even Tang Dynasty written as an inscription on your custom wall scroll if you like.

More about the poet:

Dumu lived from 803-852 AD and was a leading Chinese poet during the later part of the Tang dynasty.
He was born in Chang'an, a city of central China and former capital of the ancient Chinese empire in 221-206 BC. In present day China, his birthplace is currently known as Xi'an, the home of the Terracotta Soldiers.

He was awarded his Jinshi degree (an exam administered by the emperor's court which leads to becoming an official of the court) at the age of 25, and went on to hold many official positions over the years. However, he never achieved a high rank, apparently because of some disputes between various factions, and his family's criticism of the government. His last post in the court was his appointment to the office of Secretariat Drafter.

During his life, he wrote scores of narrative poems, as well as a commentary on the Art of War and many letters of advice to high officials.

His poems were often very realistic, and often depicted every day life. He wrote poems about everything, from drinking beer in a tavern to weepy poems about lost love.

The thing that strikes you most is the fact even after 1200 years, not much has changed about the beauty of nature, toils and troubles of love and beer drinking.

Neptune / Poseidon

Sea God
China hǎi shén
Japan wadatsumi
Neptune / Poseidon Wall Scroll

This Chinese and Japanese title means "Emperor of the Sea," or "God of the Sea."

This would be the Chinese and Japanese equivalent of Neptune or Poseidon.

In Japanese, this can also be the given names Watatsumi or Kaijin, and the surname Umikami.

Better Late Than Never

It's Never Too Late Too Mend
China wáng yáng bǔ láo yóu wèi wéi wǎn
Better Late Than Never Wall Scroll

Long ago in what is now China, there were many kingdoms throughout the land. This time period is known as "The Warring States Period" by historians because these kingdoms often did not get along with each other.

Some time around 279 B.C. the Kingdom of Chu was a large but not particularly powerful kingdom. Part of the reason it lacked power was the fact that the King was surrounded by "yes men" who told him only what he wanted to hear. Many of the King’s court officials were corrupt and incompetent which did not help the situation.

The King was not blameless himself, as he started spending much of his time being entertained by his many concubines.

One of the King’s ministers, Zhuang Xin, saw problems on the horizon for the Kingdom, and warned the King, "Your Majesty, you are surrounded by people who tell you what you want to hear. They tell you things to make you happy, and cause you to ignore important state affairs. If this is allowed to continue, the Kingdom of Chu will surely perish, and fall into ruins."

This enraged the King who scolded Zhuang Xin for insulting the country and accused him of trying to create resentment among the people. Zhuang Xin explained, "I dare not curse the Kingdom of Chu but I feel that we face great danger in the future because of the current situation." The King was simply not impressed with Zhuang Xin’s words.
Seeing the King’s displeasure with him and the King’s fondness for his court of corrupt officials, Zhuang Xin asked permission of the King that he may take leave of the Kingdom of Chu, and travel to the State of Zhao to live. The King agreed, and Zhuang Xin left the Kingdom of Chu, perhaps forever.

Five months later, troops from the neighboring Kingdom of Qin invaded Chu, taking a huge tract of land. The King of Chu went into exile, and it appeared that soon, the Kingdom of Chu would no longer exist.

The King of Chu remembered the words of Zhuang Xin, and sent some of his men to find him. Immediately, Zhuang Xin returned to meet the King. The first question asked by the King was, "What can I do now?"

Zhuang Xin told the King this story:

A shepherd woke one morning to find a sheep missing. Looking at the pen saw a hole in the fence where a wolf had come through to steal one of his sheep. His friends told him that he had best fix the hole at once. But the Shepherd thought since the sheep is already gone, there is no use fixing the hole.
The next morning, another sheep was missing. And the Shepherd realized that he must mend the fence at once. Zhuang Xin then went on to make suggestions about what could be done to reclaim the land lost to the Kingdom of Qin, and reclaim the former glory and integrity in the Kingdom of Chu.

The Chinese idiom shown above came from this reply from Zhuang Xin to the King of Chu almost 2,300 years ago.
It translates roughly into English as...
"Even if you have lost some sheep, it’s never too late to mend the fence."

This proverb is often used in modern China when suggesting in a hopeful way that someone change their ways, or fix something in their life. It might be used to suggest fixing a marriage, quit smoking, or getting back on track after taking an unfortunate path in life among other things one might fix in their life.

I suppose in the same way that we might say, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" in our western cultures to suggest that you can always start anew.

Note: This does have Korean pronunciation but is not a well-known proverb in Korean (only Koreans familiar with ancient Chinese history would know it). Best if your audience is Chinese.

Appreciation and Love for Your Parents

China shuí yán cùn cǎo xīn bào dé sān chūn huī
Appreciation and Love for Your Parents Wall Scroll

This is the last line of a famous poem. It is perceived as a tribute or ode to your parent's or mother from a child or children that have left home.

The poem was written by Meng Jiao during the Tang Dynasty (about 1200 years ago). The Chinese title is "You Zi Yin" which means "The Traveler's Recite."

The last line as shown here speaks of the generous and warm spring sun light which gives the grass far beyond what the little grass can could ever give back (except perhaps by showing its lovely green leaves and flourishing). The metaphor is that the sun is your mother or parents, and you are the grass. Your parents raise you and give you all the love and care you need to prepare you for the world. A debt which you can never repay, nor is repayment expected.

The first part of the poem (not written in the characters to the left) suggests that the thread in a loving mother's hands is the shirt of her traveling offspring. Vigorously sewing while wishing them to come back sooner than they left.
...This part is really hard to translate into English that makes any sense but maybe you get the idea. We are talking about a poem that is so old that many Chinese people would have trouble reading it (as if it was the King James Version of Chinese).

Past experience is the teacher for the future.

Past events not forgotten serve as teachers for later events.
China qián shì bú wàng hòu shí zhī shī
Past experience is the teacher for the future. Wall Scroll

The most literal translation to English of this ancient Chinese proverb is:
"Past events not forgotten serve as teachers for later events."

However, it's been translated several ways:
Don't forget past events, they can guide you in future.
Benefit from past experience.
Past experience, if not forgotten, is a guide for the future.
Past calamity is my teacher.
A good memory for the past is a teacher for the future.
The remembrance of the past is the teacher of the future.
If one remembers the lessons of the past; They will serve as a guide to avoid mistakes in the future.

The origin:
This proverb comes from the 5th century B.C. just before the Warring States Period in the territory now known as China.
The head of the State of Jin, Zhi Bo, seized power in a coup. He did this with help from the armies of the State of Han and Wei. Instead of being grateful for the help from Han and Wei, he treacherously took the land of Han and Wei. Never satisfied, Zhi Bo employed the armies of Han and Wei to attack and seize the State of Zhao.

The king of Zhao took advice from his minister Zhang Mengtan and secretly contacted the Han and Wei armies to reverse their plans and attack the army of Zhi Bo instead. The plan was successful, and the State of Zhao was not only saved but was set to become a powerful kingdom in the region.

Zhang Mengtan immediately submitted his resignation to a confused king of Zhao. When asked why, Zhang Mengtan said, "I've done my duty to save my kingdom but looking back at past experience, I know sovereign kings are never satisfied with the power or land at hand. They will join others and fight for more power and more land. I must learn from past experiences, as those experiences are the teachers of future events."
The king could not dispute the logic in that statement and accepted Zhang Mengtan's resignation.

For generations, the State of Zhao continued to fight for power and land until finally being defeated and decimated by the State of Qin (which lead to the birth of the Qin Dynasty in 221 B.C.).

Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks

Persistence to overcome all challenges
China bǎi zhé bù náo
Japan hyaku setsu su tou
Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb means "Be undaunted in the face of repeated setbacks." More directly-translated, it reads, "[Overcome] a hundred setbacks, without flinching." This is of Chinese origin but is commonly used in Japanese, and somewhat in Korean (same characters, different pronunciation).

This proverb comes from a long, and occasionally tragic story of a man that lived sometime around 25-220 AD. His name was Qiao Xuan and he never stooped to flattery but remained an upright person at all times. He fought to expose corruption of higher-level government officials at great risk to himself.

Then when he was at a higher level in the Imperial Court, bandits were regularly capturing hostages and demanding ransoms. But when his own son was captured, he was so focused on his duty to the Emperor and common good that he sent a platoon of soldiers to raid the bandits' hideout, and stop them once and for all even at the risk of his own son's life. While all of the bandits were arrested in the raid, they killed Qiao Xuan's son at first sight of the raiding soldiers.

Near the end of his career a new Emperor came to power, and Qiao Xuan reported to him that one of his ministers was bullying the people and extorting money from them. The new Emperor refused to listen to Qiao Xuan and even promoted the corrupt Minister. Qiao Xuan was so disgusted that in protest he resigned his post as minister (something almost never done) and left for his home village.

His tombstone reads "Bai Zhe Bu Nao" which is now a proverb used in Chinese culture to describe a person of strength will who puts up stubborn resistance against great odds.

My Chinese-English dictionary defines these 4 characters as, "keep on fighting in spite of all setbacks," "be undaunted by repeated setbacks" and "be indomitable."

Our translator says it can mean, "never give up" in modern Chinese.

Although the first two characters are translated correctly as "repeated setbacks," the literal meaning is "100 setbacks" or "a rope that breaks 100 times." The last two characters can mean "do not yield" or "do not give up."
Most Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people will not take this absolutely literal meaning but will instead understand it as the title suggests above. If you want a single big word definition, it would be indefatigability, indomitableness, persistence, or unyielding.


See Also:  Tenacity | Fortitude | Strength | Perseverance | Persistence

Phoenix (female)

China huáng
Japan ou
Phoenix (female) Wall Scroll

凰 is another simple way to write "Phoenix" in Chinese. 凰 is the specifically female element of phoenix, so this is how you write "female phoenix." 凰 is sometimes used to represent the female empress (many times in history, China was ruled by a woman, in much the same way queens came to power in Europe).

Note that the emperor is always represented as a dragon (not the male version of phoenix).

If you see yourself as a strong woman, this might be scroll for you to express "woman power" or "powerful woman" in a cool way.

Prince

China wáng zǐ
Japan ou ji
Prince Wall Scroll

王子 is prince in Chinese characters and Japanese Kanji. If you look at the meaning of each character, the first means king, and the second means son (or child). Thus, "King's Son," "Son of the King," or "King's Child," is the literal meaning of this title.

Qin / Chin

China qīn
Japan kin
Qin / Chin Wall Scroll

欽 is one of a few Chinese characters that can be a surname romanized as Qin or Chin.

The actual meaning of this characters is: reverence; to respect; to admire; to venerate; by the emperor himself; imperial.

In Japanese, this can be the name Makoto.

Qin / Chin / Yasushi

China qín
Japan shin
Qin / Chin / Yasushi Wall Scroll

秦 is a common character that can be the surname romanized as Qin or Chin in Chinese.

秦 is the same Qin as the Qin dynasty (221-207 BC). The Qin dynasty was establishment of the first emperor and unification of China (previously a multitude of kingdoms).

秦 is also a surname in Japanese, romanized as Yasushi.

Queen

China nǚ wáng
Japan jo ou
Queen Wall Scroll

女王 is one way to write queen in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

女王 is not the same thing as an empress.

The first character means "woman" or "female," and the second means "king." So this is literally, "woman king."


See Also:  Empress | Goddess | Emperor

Queen / Empress

Wife of the King
China wáng hòu
Japan ou kou
Queen / Empress Wall Scroll

王后 is another way to write queen in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

王后 is sometimes used for the title of empress.

The first character means "king" and the second means "wife," or a short form to say "wife of the king / emperor." So this is literally, "king's wife" or "emperor's wife." Some will translate this as "queen consort."


See Also:  Queen | Goddess | Emperor

Samurai

China shì
Japan samurai
Samurai Wall Scroll

In Japanese, this character represents the warriors that attempted to hold peace when there was no Emperor in Japan. Be cautious though, as it is an old way to express "servant" or "waiter" in Chinese and Korean. Of course, if you are a samurai, you are a servant to your Shogun-ate, Lord, or the people (which is the root meaning).


See Also:  Warrior

Shaolin

Little Forest
China shǎo lín
Japan sho rin
Shaolin Wall Scroll

The Shaolin monks of China have been practicing the art of Kung Fu for thousands of years. While there are many schools of Kung Fu in China, Shaolin are one of the more religiously devout and disciplined.

The title of Shaolin actually refers to a specific Buddhist monastery. It should be noted that the Shaolin were famous in China long before the Kung Fu TV show. Their fame in China is due to the monks' heroic and swift rescue an emperor during the Tang Dynasty. Most Chinese people are not keenly aware of the Kung Fu TV show, and have no idea who David Carradine is or anything about his character, Kwai Chang Caine.

Note: The literal meaning of these two characters is "little forest."

The fame of the Shaolin has spread all over Asia, as even though this is a Chinese title, the same characters are used in Japanese with the same meaning.

Shidai / Sida / Mahabhuta

China sì dà
Japan shi dai
Shidai / Sida / Mahabhuta Wall Scroll

In Buddhism, this is mahābhūta, the four elements of which all things are made: earth, water, fire, and wind.

This can also represent the four freedoms: speaking out freely, airing views fully, holding great debates, and writing big-character posters.

In some context, this can be a university or college offering four-year programs.

To others, this can represent the Tao, Heaven, Earth and King.

Going back to the Buddhist context, these four elements "earth, water, fire, and wind" represent 堅, 濕, 煖, 動, which is: solid, liquid, heat, and motion.

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.

Sun Wukong / Son Goku

Monkey King
China sūn wù kōng
Japan son go kuu
Sun Wukong / Son Goku Wall Scroll

孫悟空 is the name, Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey King. He is a main character with supernatural powers in the ancient Chinese novel Journey to the West.

This title is also known as the real name of the Monkey King in Japanese. This can also be the Son Goku better known as simply Goku, a fictional character of the Dragon Ball Japanese manga series.

Tea Fate

China chá yuán
Tea Fate Wall Scroll

茶緣 is a special title for the tea lover. This kind of means "tea fate" but it's more spiritual and hard to define. Perhaps the tea brought you in to drink it. Perhaps the tea will bring you and another tea-lover together. Perhaps you were already there, and the tea came to you. Perhaps it's the ah-ha moment you will have when drinking the tea.

I've been told not to explain this further, as it will either dilute or confuse the purposefully-ambiguous idea embedded in this enigma.

I happen to be the owner of a piece of calligraphy written by either the son or nephew of the last emperor of China, and this is the title he wrote. It was given to me at a Beijing tea house in 2001. 茶緣 is where I learned to love tea after literally spending weeks tasting and studying everything I could about Chinese tea. I did not understand the significance of the authorship, or meaning of the title at all. Some 10 years later, I realized the gift was so profound and had such providence. Only now I realize the value of a gift that it is too late to give proper thanks for. It was also years later that I ended up in this business, and could have the artwork properly mounted as a wall scroll. It has been borrowed for many exhibitions and shows, and always amazes native Chinese and Taiwanese who read the signature. This piece of calligraphy which I once thought just a bit of ink on a thin and wrinkled piece of paper is now one of my most valued possessions. And by fate, it has taught me to be more thankful of seemingly simple gifts.

Tiger Rumor

China sān rén chéng hǔ
Tiger Rumor Wall Scroll

These four characters together relay the meaning that can be expressed in English as, "When three people say there's a tiger running in the street, you believe it."

Of course, there is an ancient story behind this idiom...

This is actually a proverb that resulted from a conversation that occurred around 300 B.C.

The conversation was between the king of the Wei kingdom and one of the king's ministers named Pang Cong.

It was near the end of one of many wars, this time with the Zhao kingdom. Pang Cong was to be sent by the king to the Zhao kingdom with the king's son who was to be held hostage. It was common at the time for a king to make his son a hostage to secure stable peace between warring kingdoms.

Before minister Pang Cong departed, he asked his king, "If one person told you there was a tiger running in the street, would you believe it?."

"No," the king said.

The minister continued, "What if two people told you?"

The king replied, "Well, I would have my doubts but I might believe it."

The minister continued, "So, what if three people told you that there is a tiger running in the streets?"

The king replied, "Yes, I would believe it, it must be true if three people say it."

The minister then reminded the king, "Your son and I are now traveling far away to live in the distant Zhao kingdom - much farther from your palace than the street. Rumors may fly about me in my absence, so I hope your majesty will weight such rumors appropriately."

The king replied, "I have every trust in you, do not worry"

While the minister was gone, the king's enemies gossiped about minister Pang Cong on many occasions. At first, the king thought nothing of these comments and rumors. But slowly as the rumors mounted, the king began to suspect ill of his minister.

Some time later when peace was well-established, the minister and prince were freed and returned to the kingdom of Wei. The king received his son, BUT DID NOT EVEN SUMMON MINISTER PANG CONG TO THE PALACE!

Hopefully this story will help you see how dangerous words can be when used to promote rumors, or create ill will. And perhaps will inspire you to not believe everything you hear.

There is also a secondary suggestion in this idiom that gossip is as ferocious as a tiger. Some Chinese people who don't know the ancient story above may believe that this scroll means that rumors are as vicious as three tigers.

Note: This proverb appears in my Korean dictionary but is not well-known in Korea.

Unselfish: Perfectly Impartial

China dà gōng wú sī
Unselfish: Perfectly Impartial Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb comes from an old story from some time before 476 BC. About a man named Qi Huangyang, who was commissioned by the king to select the best person for a certain job in the Imperial Court.

Qi Huangyang selected his enemy for the job. The king was very confused by the selection but Qi Huangyang explained that he was asked to find the best person for the job, not necessarily someone that he personally liked or had a friendship with.

Later, Confucius commented on how unselfish and impartial Qi Huangyang was by saying "Da Gong Wu Si" which if you look it up in a Chinese dictionary, is generally translated as "Unselfish" or "Just and Fair."

If you translate each character, you'd have something like,

"Big/Deep Justice Without Self."

Direct translations like this leave out a lot of what the Chinese characters really say. Use your imagination, and suddenly you realize that "without self" means "without thinking about yourself in the decision" - together, these two words mean "unselfish." The first two characters serve to really drive the point home that we are talking about a concept that is similar to "blind justice."

One of my Chinese-English dictionaries translates this simply as "just and fair." So that is the short and simple version.

Note: This can be pronounced in Korean but it's not a commonly used term.


See Also:  Selflessness | Work Unselfishly for the Common Good | Altruism

Water Dragon / Rain Dragon

China jiāo
Japan kou ryuu
Water Dragon / Rain Dragon Wall Scroll

This title for water dragon is the hornless or scaled dragon. This is the king of all aquatic animals with the ability to control rain and floods.

In Japanese, the rain dragon can represent hidden genius. This dragon's domain is the deep murky water, thus with hidden potential. This can also be the Japanese given name Kouryuu.

White Dragon

China bái lóng
White Dragon Wall Scroll

白龍 is a sophisticated or scholarly way to say, "White Dragon." 白龍 is the title you'd expect in ancient Chinese literature.

The first character means white, pure, or bright.

The second character means dragon.

The White Dragon represents a king who is virtuous and pure.

Work Unselfishly for the Common Good

China kè jǐ fèng gōng
Work Unselfishly for the Common Good Wall Scroll

This can also mean: "Place Strict Standards on Oneself in Public Service."
This Chinese proverb is often used to express how one should act as a government official. Most of us wish our public officials would hold themselves to higher standards. I wish I could send this scroll, along with the meaning to every member of Congress, and the President (or if I was from the UK, all the members of Parliament, and the PM)

The story behind this ancient Chinese idiom:
A man named Cai Zun was born in China a little over 2000 years ago. In 24 AD, he joined an uprising led by Liu Xiu who later became the emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty.

Later, the new emperor put Cai Zun in charge of the military court. Cai Zun exercised his power in strict accordance with military law, regardless of the offender's rank or background. He even ordered the execution of one of the emperor's close servants after the servant committed a serious crime.

Cai Zun led a simple life but put great demands on himself to do all things in an honorable way. The emperor rewarded him for his honest character and honorable nature by promoting him to the rank of General and granting him the title of Marquis.

Whenever Cai Zun would receive an award, he would give credit to his men and share the reward with them.
Cai Zun was always praised by historians who found many examples of his selfless acts that served the public interest.
Sometime, long ago in history, people began to refer to Cai Zun as "ke ji feng gong."


See Also:  Unselfish | Selflessness | Altruism

Wukong / Goku

Monkey King
China wù kōng
Japan go kuu
Wukong / Goku Wall Scroll

悟空 is the short name or given name of, Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, from the ancient Chinese novel Journey to the West.

This title is also known as the given name of the Monkey King in Japanese. This can also be Goku, short for Son Goku, a fictional character of the Dragon Ball Japanese manga series (also based loosely on the Monkey King).

Five Ancestors Fist

China wǔ zǔ quán
Five Ancestors Fist Wall Scroll

五祖拳 is a martial arts concept (some would say "school") known as Five Ancestors' Fist.

The first character means five.
The second means ancestor, forefather, or grandparents.
The third means fist.


The ancestors referred to by this title and whose attributes contribute to this style are as follows:
1. Grace of the White Crane.
2. Agility of the Monkey.
3. Precision and skill of Emperor Taizu (great mythical ancestor).
4. Power of Luohan (Buddhist arhat).
5. Breath of Damo (founder of Buddhism, or the first Buddha).

Xishi / Xi Shi

China xī shī
Japan sei shi
Xishi / Xi Shi Wall Scroll

西施 is the Chinese title for Xishi, who lived around 450 BC. She was a famous Chinese beauty, perhaps the foremost of the Four Beauties (四大美女). She was given by King Gou Jian of the Yue Kingdom as a concubine to the King of Wu. This was part of an elaborate plan to destroy the Wu Kingdom - and it worked.

Note: In Japanese, this can be an unrelated given name, Seishi. Though the Xishi story is somewhat known in Japan.

Yellow

Yellow Color
China huáng
Japan hon / kou
Yellow Wall Scroll

黃 is the single character for the color yellow in Chinese.

In China, yellow is traditionally the color of the emperor. In fact, there was a time when only the emperor could wear yellow clothing, or own yellow pet fish. Note: Goldfish were breed originally in China for the emperor. When the perfect yellow fish was breed, all but the emperor were banned from owning any. Thus a more orange-colored goldfish dominated the market.

黃 is not a common selection for a wall scroll. Even if your Chinese surname is Huang (Yellow) or your Korean surname is Hwang (yellow), it's still probably not appropriate.


黄This character is written with a slight variation in Simplified Chinese and modern Japanese. Click on the image to the right if you want this alternate version.

Yellow Dragon

China huáng lóng
Yellow Dragon Wall Scroll

黃龍 is a sophisticated or scholarly way to say, "Yellow Dragon." 黃龍 is the title you'd expect in ancient Chinese literature.

The first character means yellow.

The second character means dragon.

The Yellow Dragon represents a king that favorably hears all petitions of his subjects.


Note: This title can be the name of Huanglong county in Yan'an, located in Shaanxi province of China.

Tiger

Year of the Tiger / Zodiac Sign
China
Japan tora
Tiger Wall Scroll

虎 is the character for tiger in Chinese, old Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji.

Since you already know what a tiger is, here's some trivia: If you look at the Japanese pronunciation, you might remember a movie called "Tora Tora Tora" which was the code word used to initiate the attack on Pearl Harbor. It simply means "Tiger Tiger Tiger."

In Chinese culture, the tiger is considered to be the king of all animals (in much the way we see the lion in western culture).

From the Chinese Zodiac, if you were born in the year of the tiger, you . . .

Have a strong personality.
Are full of self-confidence.
Love adventure
Don't like to obey others.


See also our Chinese Zodiac or Tiger Calligraphy pages.

Dragon

Year of the Dragon / Zodiac Sign
China lóng
Japan ryuu / tatsu
Dragon Wall Scroll

龍 is the character for dragon in Chinese, old Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji.

The dragon is the creature of myth and legend that dominates Chinese, Japanese, and even European folklore. In China, the dragon is the symbol of the Emperor, strength and power, and the Chinese dragon is known as the god of water.

From the Chinese Zodiac, if you were born in the year of the Dragon, you . . .

Have a strong body and spirit.
Are full of energy.
Have vast goals.
Have a deep level of self-awareness.
Will do whatever you can to "save face."


See also our Chinese Zodiac or Dragon Calligraphy pages.




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

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
King ou / owáng / wang2 / wang
Animal Kingdom 動物王國
动物王国
doubutsu oukoku
doubutsuoukoku
dobutsu okoku
dobutsuokoku
dòng wù wáng guó
dong4 wu4 wang2 guo2
dong wu wang guo
dongwuwangguo
tung wu wang kuo
tungwuwangkuo
Lion King 獅子王
狮子王
shi shi ou / shishiou / shi shi o / shishioshī zǐ wáng
shi1 zi3 wang2
shi zi wang
shiziwang
shih tzu wang
shihtzuwang
Monkey King 美猴王měi hóu wáng
mei3 hou2 wang2
mei hou wang
meihouwang
Monkey King 猴王hóu wáng / hou2 wang2 / hou wang / houwang
Blue Dragon
Azure Dragon
青龍 / 靑龍
青龙
sei ryuu / seiryuu / sei ryu / seiryuqīng lóng
qing1 long2
qing long
qinglong
ch`ing lung
chinglung
ching lung
Banzai
Wansui
萬歲
万岁
banzai / manzaiwàn suì / wan4 sui4 / wan sui / wansui
Banzai 萬歲
万岁
banzaiwàn suì / wan4 sui4 / wan sui / wansui
Black Dragon 玄龍
玄龙
xuān lóng
xuan1 long2
xuan long
xuanlong
hsüan lung
hsüanlung
Boys be Ambitious 少年よ大志を抱けshou nen yo tai shi o ida ke
shounenyotaishioidake
sho nen yo tai shi o ida ke
shonenyotaishioidake
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.