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Broken Jade in Chinese / Japanese...

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Death Before Dishonor

Better to be broken jade than unbroken pottery
China níng wéi yù suì
Mockup of Calligraphy Artwork

This is the short version of a longer Chinese proverb which means, "rather be shattered piece of jade than an unbroken piece of pottery." The characters shown above just say the "rather be a broken piece of jade" part (the second half is implied - everyone in China knows this idiom).

A little more explanation:
Death is implied with the "broken" meaning. Jade is one of the most precious materials in Chinese history, and in this case is compared with one's honor and self-worth. Pottery is just something you eat off of, it has no deep value, just as a person who has lost their honor, or had none to begin with.
Thus, this means, "better to die with honor than to live in shame" or words to that effect.

This is often translated in English as "Death Before Dishonor," the famous military slogan.

I would also compare this to the English proverb, "Better to die on your feet than live on your knees."

Death Before Dishonor

Better to be broken jade than unbroken pottery
China níng wéi yù suì bú wéi wǎ quán
Mockup of Calligraphy Artwork

This is the long version of a Chinese proverb which means, "rather be shattered piece of jade than an unbroken piece of pottery."

A little more explanation:
Death is implied with the "broken" meaning. Jade is one of the most precious materials in Chinese history, and in this case is compared with one's honor and self-worth. Pottery is just something you eat off of, it has no deep value, just as a person who has lost their honor, or had none to begin with.
Thus, this means, "better to die with honor than to live in shame" or words to that effect.

This is often translated in English as "Death Before Dishonor," the famous military slogan.

I would also compare this to the English proverb, "Better to die on your feet than live on your knees."


This is an idiom. It therefore doesn't directly say exactly what it means. If you think about the English idiom, "The grass is always greener," it does not directly say "jealousy" or "envy" but everyone knows that it is implied.


Not the results for broken jade that you were looking for?

Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your broken jade search...

Characters

If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Pronunciation
Romanization
Simple Dictionary Definition

寧為玉碎,不為瓦全


宁为玉碎,不为瓦全

see styles
Mandarin nìng wéi yù suì , bù wéi wǎ quán / ning4 wei2 yu4 sui4 , bu4 wei2 wa3 quan2
Taiwan ning wei yü sui , pu wei wa ch`üan / ning wei yü sui , pu wei wa chüan
Chinese Better broken jade than intact tile.; Death is preferable to dishonor. (idiom)
More info / calligraphy:
Death Before Dishonor



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

Title CharactersVarious forms of Romanized Chinese
Death Before Dishonor 寧為玉碎
宁为玉碎
níng wéi yù suì
ning2 wei2 yu4 sui4
ning wei yu sui
ningweiyusui
ning wei yü sui
ningweiyüsui
Death Before Dishonor 寧為玉碎不為瓦全
宁为玉碎不为瓦全
níng wéi yù suì bú wéi wǎ quán
ning2 wei2 yu4 sui4 bu2 wei2 wa3 quan2
ning wei yu sui bu wei wa quan
ningweiyusuibuweiwaquan
ning wei yü sui pu wei wa ch`üan
ning wei yü sui pu wei wa chüan
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.


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.


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 Broken Jade Kanji, Broken Jade Characters, Broken Jade in Mandarin Chinese, Broken Jade Characters, Broken Jade in Chinese Writing, Broken Jade in Japanese Writing, Broken Jade in Asian Writing, Broken Jade Ideograms, Chinese Broken Jade symbols, Broken Jade Hieroglyphics, Broken Jade Glyphs, Broken Jade in Chinese Letters, Broken Jade Hanzi, Broken Jade in Japanese Kanji, Broken Jade Pictograms, Broken Jade in the Chinese Written-Language, or Broken Jade in the Japanese Written-Language.