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Quick links to words on this page...
| 1. Ability to Adapt
2. Leadership / Ability to Lead
3. Strength / Ability
4. Supernatural Energy
5. Wisdom / Brilliance
6. Psychic Power
7. Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger
8. Longevity / Long Life
9. Perception of Knowledge
10. Power of Oneself / Self-Sufficient
|11. Resilient in the Face of Adversity
12. Power / Strength
13. Water Dragon / Rain Dragon
14. Free Will
17. Spiritual Strength / Strength of Spirit
18. Even a fool may sometimes come up with a good idea
19. Intelligence / Intellect
20. Perseverance is the Key
|21. Rooster / Chicken|
22. Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight
23. Strong / Powerful / Force
24. Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis
25. Inner Beauty / Inner Wisdom
27. Black or white cat matters not as long as it can catch mice
指導力 is the Japanese word for "Leadership." This refers to the ability to lead (or with certain adjectives added, the lack of ability to lead).
力量 is a general strength term. It can refer to mental or physical strength (depending on context). 力量 can also be used to describe strength in terms of capability, capacity, ability and even tact. Some may translate this as power or force.
超能力 is used in both Japanese and Chinese to refer to the ability to comprehend supernatural power. Some may translate this as psychic ability, psychic power, ESP, or PSI.
In Chinese, this means "ability and wisdom" or "ability and intelligence."
It can also be defined as brilliance, or genius.
In Japanese, it takes on a meaning more of "wit and intelligence."
Note that the ancient/traditional form is shown above. After WWII, in both Japan and China, the first character was simplified. If you want this reformed/simplified version, just click on the characters to the right, instead of the button above. This is a good choice if your audience is Japanese.
The meaning of 藏龍臥虎 is that both the tiger and dragon have amazing talents, but if they are out of view, you may not have discovered them.
This old Chinese idiom/proverb is appropriate for someone with amazing ability that keeps that ability hidden.
You might think this title is in reverse, but actually, this is the original Chinese proverb.
The movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon popularized this alternate version.
Used as a noun, this word means "longevity" or "the ability to live long." It can also be an adjective meaning "long lived."
Please note that Japanese use a simplified version of the second character of longevity - it also happens to be the same simplification used in mainland China. Click on the character to the right if you want the Japanese/Simplified version of this two-character longevity calligraphy.
The first character represents "to know" or "to realize." The second character alone refers to the ability to "recognize," or "realize" and can also be used to mean "knowing." Combined, these two characters have the very strong meaning of "knowledge" and in some context, "learning."
自力 is a word in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, old Korean, and Buddhist term meaning: power within oneself; self-sufficient; by oneself; self-made; self-power; inner ability.
打たれ強い is often used as a martial arts term. It means being able to take a lot of punishment, or able to take a hit. In the context of Japanese baseball, it can also refer to the pitcher's ability to keep his cool when the batter gets a hit. In general, this is about being resilient and strong in the face of criticism or adversity.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
力 is the simplest form of "power" or "strength."
In Japanese it is pronounced "chikara" when used alone, and "ryoku" when used in a sentence (there are also a few other possible pronunciations of this Kanji in Japanese).
In some context, this can mean ability, force, physical strength, capability, and influence.
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.
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."
仙 means immortal (as in a being or person).
In some context, it can mean hermit, ascetic, man of the hills, or wizard. The Buddha is often put in this category.
In Chinese mythology and folklore, there is a famous group of eight immortals (八仙).
The 楞嚴經 (Śūraṅgama Sūtra) speaks of many kinds of immortals including walkers on the earth, fliers, wanderers at will (into space or into the deva heavens), beings with the ability to transform themselves into any form, etc.
想像力 is probably the best way to express "imagination" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. It literally means "your strength to imagine." As the last character means strength or ability, while the first two mean imagine or conceptualize. My Japanese dictionary defines this as, "The power of imagination." While my Korean dictionary says, "imaginative power."
This title speaks of one's soul or spirit, and the capacity or strength that soul possesses.
The first two characters mean mind, heart, spirit, and/or soul.
The last two characters mean strength, capacity, or ability.
Note: Separately, these are two words in Japanese, and can be pronounced but this does not make a natural title in Japanese (best if your audience is Chinese).
千慮一得 means, "1000 tries, one success," or "[a] thousand tries [leads to] one success."
This proverb is a humble way to speak of your success, ideas, or accomplishments. As if you are a fool who just got lucky in inventing or creating something.
Translations for this proverb include:
Even without any notable ability on my part, I may still get it right sometimes by good luck.
Even a fool may sometimes come up with a good idea.
These two characters mean intelligence or intelligent.
The first character means wisdom, intellect or knowledge.
The second means ability, talent, skill, capacity, capable, able, and can even mean competent.
Together, the compound word can mean "capacity for wisdom," "useful knowledge," or even "mental power." Obviously this translates more clearly into English as "intelligence."
Note: This is not the same word used to mean "military intelligence." See our other entry for that.
In modern Japan, they tend to use a version of the first character without the bottom radical. If your audience for this artwork is Japanese, please click on the Kanji to the right instead of the button above.
This literally translates as: Do not worry about not being able to master [a skill]; What [one should] be concerned about is lack of perseverance.
Figuratively, this means: One's skills cannot be perfected without perseverance in practice.
For me, I've learned that you can only get so much from school or studying. You've really got to do "on-the-job training" to perfect your ability and skill.
For martial arts students: You can read about a kick in a book, or someone can tell you about a certain kick but until you practice the kick, there's no way you'll master it.
鷄 or 雞 is the character for rooster or chicken in Chinese, old Korean, and Japanese.
If you were born in the year of the rooster (chicken), you . . .
Have a unique sense of color.
Are high principled and responsible.
Have persuasive power.
Have a great ability to communicate.
Please note: There are a few different ways to write rooster / chicken as shown to the right. If you are particular about the form, please let us know when you place your order.
See also our Chinese Zodiac page.
This Japanese proverb relays the vicissitudes of life, with the meaning "seven times down eight times up."
Some would more naturally translate it into English as "Always rising after a fall or repeated failures" or compare it to the English, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
The first Kanji is literally "7." The second means "fall down" (sometimes this Kanji means "turn around," "revolve" or "turn over" but in this case, it holds the meaning of "fall"). The third is "8." And the last is "get up," "rouse," or "rise."
Basically, if you fail 7 times, you should recover from those events and be prepared to rise an 8th time. This also applies if it is the world or circumstances that knock you down seven times...
...just remember that you have the ability to bounce back from any kind of adversity.
Note: This can be pronounced two ways. One is "shichi ten hakki" or "shichitenhakki." The other is "nana korobi ya oki" also written, "nanakorobi-yaoki."
Special Note: The second character is a Kanji that is not used in China. Therefore, please only select our Japanese master calligrapher for this selection.
This "strong" character means strength, force, powerful, better, stubborn, and stiff (yes, all of this in one character). This "strong" has less to do with physical strength and more to do with having a winning attitude, or just having the ability to win at something.
Note that most of the time, this character is pronounced "qiang" but when used with the meaning of stubborn, unyielding, or stiff, it is pronounced "jiang" in Chinese.
Also, sometimes "qiang" is used in modern Chinese to describe people that do crazy things (Example: Bicycling from Beijing to Tibet alone). I sometimes can be found outside my Beijing apartment wearing nothing but shorts and a tee-shirt while eating an ice cream during a snow storm, just to hear my neighbors call me "qiang." Maybe they mean "strong" but perhaps they are using the new meaning of "crazy strong."
Also a Korean Hanja with same meaning but mostly used in compound words.
This is used in Japanese (though normally in compound words). In Japanese, it has the same meaning but in some context can mean "a little more than..." or "a little over [some amount]." Most Japanese would read this as tough, strength, stiff, hard, inflexible, obstinate, or stubborn.
The first chapter of Sun Tzu's Art of War lists five key points to analyzing your situation.
It reads like a 5-part military proverb. Sun Tzu says that to sharpen your skills, you must plan. To plan well, you must know your situation. Therefore, you must consider and discuss the following:
1. Philosophy and Politics: Make sure your way or your policy is agreeable among all of your troops (and the citizens of your kingdom as well). For when your soldiers believe in you and your way, they will follow you to their deaths without hesitation, and will not question your orders.
2. Heaven/Sky: Consider climate / weather. This can also mean to consider whether God is smiling on you. In the modern military, this could be waiting for clear skies so that you can have air support for an amphibious landing.
3. Ground/Earth: Consider the terrain in which the battle will take place. This includes analyzing defensible positions, exit routes, and using varying elevation to your advantage. When you plan an ambush, you must know your terrain, and the best location from which to stage that ambush. This knowledge will also help you avoid being ambushed, as you will know where the likely places in which to expect an ambush from your enemy.
4. Leadership: This applies to you as the general, and also to your lieutenants. A leader should be smart and be able to develop good strategies. Leaders should keep their word, and if they break a promise, they should punish themselves as harshly as they would punish subordinates. Leaders should be benevolent to their troops, with almost a fatherly love for them. Leaders must have the ability to make brave and fast decisions. Leaders must have steadfast principles.
5. [Military] Methods: This can also mean laws, rules, principles, model, or system. You must have an efficient organization in place to manage both your troops and supplies. In the modern military, this would be a combination of how your unit is organized, and your SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).
Notes: This is a simplistic translation and explanation. Much more is suggested in the actual text of the Art of War (Bing Fa). It would take a lot of study to master all of these aspects. In fact, these five characters can be compared to the modern military acronyms such as BAMCIS or SMEAC.
CJK notes: I have included the Japanese and Korean pronunciations but in Chinese, Korean and Japanese, this does not make a typical phrase (with subject, verb, and object) it is a list that only someone familiar with Sun Tzu's writings would understand.
This literally translates as: It doesn't matter [if a] cat [is] black [or] white, [as long as it] can catch mice, it's a good cat.
This proverb was either composed or made famous by Deng XiaoPing in 1961 when he exclaimed, "I don't care if it's a white cat or a black cat. It's a good cat so long as it catches mice" when his critics pointed out that his ideas were Capitalistic (free market). The response was meant to say, "It does not matter if it's Communist or Capitalist, as long as it works."
This Chinese proverb can be used to suggest one should disregard looks or a person's race, as long as they can do the job. It can also be used as a metaphor for many other situations.
Deng XiaoPing probably saved China from collapse (as the Soviet Union experienced). He changed China's economy from pure Communism to a hybrid where the free market (Capitalism) is encouraged. More about Deng XiaoPing
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Ability to Adapt||応変能力||ouhen nouryoku|
Ability to Lead
|力量||riki ryou / rikiryou / riki ryo / rikiryo||lì liàng / li4 liang4 / li liang / liliang|
|chāo néng lì|
chao1 neng2 li4
chao neng li
|ch`ao neng li
chao neng li
|sai chi / saichi||cái zhì / cai2 zhi4 / cai zhi / caizhi||ts`ai chih / tsaichih / tsai chih|
|Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger||藏龍臥虎|
|cáng lóng wò hǔ|
cang2 long2 wo4 hu3
cang long wo hu
|ts`ang lung wo hu
tsang lung wo hu
|chouju / choju||cháng shòu|
|Perception of Knowledge||知識|
|chishiki||zhī shi / zhi1 shi / zhi shi / zhishi||chih shih / chihshih|
|Power of Oneself|
|自力||jiriki||zì lì / zi4 li4 / zi li / zili||tzu li / tzuli|
|Resilient in the Face of Adversity||打たれ強い||u ta re tsuyo i|
|力||chikara / ryoku||lì / li4 / li|
|kou ryuu / kouryuu / ko ryu / koryu||jiāo|
|Free Will||自由意志||jiyuu ishi / jiyuuishi / jiyu ishi / jiyuishi||zì yóu yì zhì|
zi4 you2 yi4 zhi4
zi you yi zhi
|tzu yu i chih
|Immortal||仙||sento / sen||xiān / xian1 / xian||hsien|
|xiǎng xiàng lì|
xiang3 xiang4 li4
xiang xiang li
|hsiang hsiang li
Strength of Spirit
|jīng shén lì liàng|
jing1 shen2 li4 liang4
jing shen li liang
|ching shen li liang
|Even a fool may sometimes come up with a good idea||千慮一得|
|senryonoittoku||qiān lǜ yī dé|
qian1 lv4 yi1 de2
qian lv yi de
|ch`ien lü i te
chien lü i te
|智能 / 知能|
|chinou / chino||zhì néng / zhi4 neng2 / zhi neng / zhineng||chih neng / chihneng|
|Perseverance is the Key||不怕練不成就怕心不恆|
|bú pà liàn bù chéng jiù pà xīn bù héng|
bu2 pa4 lian4 bu4 cheng2 jiu4 pa4 xin1 bu4 heng2
bu pa lian bu cheng jiu pa xin bu heng
|pu p`a lien pu ch`eng chiu p`a hsin pu heng
pu pa lien pu cheng chiu pa hsin pu heng
|鷄 or 雞|
鸡 or 鶏
|niwatori||jī / ji1 / ji||chi|
|Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight||七転八起||shichi ten hakki / nana korobi ya oki|
shichi ten haki / nana korobi ya oki
|kyou / kyo||qiáng / qiang2 / qiang||ch`iang / chiang|
|Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis||道天地將法|
|dou ten chi shou hou|
do ten chi sho ho
|dào tiān dì jiàng fǎ|
dao4 tian1 di4 jiang4 fa3
dao tian di jiang fa
|tao t`ien ti chiang fa
tao tien ti chiang fa
|nèi xiù / nei4 xiu4 / nei xiu / neixiu||nei hsiu / neihsiu|
|tōng líng rén|
tong1 ling2 ren2
tong ling ren
|t`ung ling jen
tung ling jen
|Black or white cat matters not as long as it can catch mice||不管黑貓白貓能捉著老鼠的就是好貓|
|bù guǎn hēi māo bái māo néng zhuō zhe lǎo shǔ de jiù shì hǎo mǎo|
bu4 guan3 hei1 mao1 bai2 mao1 neng2 zhuo1 zhe lao3 shu3 de jiu4 shi4 hao3 mao3
bu guan hei mao bai mao neng zhuo zhe lao shu de jiu shi hao mao
|pu kuan hei mao pai mao neng cho che lao shu te chiu shih hao mao|
|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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.
Some people may refer to this entry as Ability Kanji, Ability Characters, Ability in Mandarin Chinese, Ability Characters, Ability in Chinese Writing, Ability in Japanese Writing, Ability in Asian Writing, Ability Ideograms, Chinese Ability symbols, Ability Hieroglyphics, Ability Glyphs, Ability in Chinese Letters, Ability Hanzi, Ability in Japanese Kanji, Ability Pictograms, Ability in the Chinese Written-Language, or Ability in the Japanese Written-Language.