All custom calligraphy items are made-to-order in our little Beijing artwork-mounting workshop.

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Your Chinese / Japanese Calligraphy Search for "Dark"...

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Dark Sister
  2. Dark Angel
  3. Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark
  4. Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened,...
  5. Darkness
  6. Kurai
  7. Night / Evening
  8. Black
  9. Black Raven
10. Time and Tide Wait for No Man
11. Tranquil Midnight
12. Brown
13. The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn

Dark Sister

China hēi àn nǚ
Japan koku an nyo
Dark Sister Wall Scroll

This Buddhist title means "dark sister," "dark one," or "dark woman."

There are two sisters:
One is the deva, 功德女 ("merit" or "achieving"), who causes people to acquire wealth.
The other is the "dark one," 黑闇女, who causes people to spend and waste.

These sisters always accompany each other.

Dark Angel

China hēi àn tiān shǐ
Dark Angel Wall Scroll

黑暗天使 means, "Dark Angel," in Chinese.

The first character means black, but the second means dark by itself, so this can also be written with the first character dropped.

Dark Angel

China àn tiān shǐ
Dark Angel Wall Scroll

暗天使 is the shortest way to write, "Dark Angel," in Chinese.

This literally reads, "dark heaven's messenger."

天使 means "heaven's messenger" but is always understood as "angel".

This would be pronounced "kura tenshi" in Japanese. This has the same meaning in Japanese, but a very uncommon title. If you manage to find dark angel written in Japan, it would probably be ダーク エンジェル (Dāku Enjeru), which is a transliteration of the English title into Japanese.

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark

China xìn niǎn shì zài lí míng qián de hēi àn zhōng néng gǎn dào guāng míng de niǎo
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark Wall Scroll

信唸是在黎明前的黑闇中能感到光明的鳥 is a philosophical poem/quote from Indian Poet and Philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore.

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore, 1915

This quote is not sourced, and therefore several variations exist in English. Some suggest the original was in the Bengali language.

This, of course, is the Chinese translation which has the meaning of, "Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark."

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.


China àn
Japan yami
Darkness Wall Scroll

闇 is the shortest and universal way (in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja) to write "darkness."

In Chinese this can mean: dark, gloomy, hidden, secret, to shut the door, unilluminated.

In Japanese this can mean: darkness, the dark, black-marketeering, dark, shady, illegal.

In old Korean Hanja this can mean: dark, obscure, hidden, secret.

暗 Note that there is an alternate form of this character. It is used as an alternate in all three languages (that rarely happens). You can see this alternate version to the right. If you want to order that version, please click on that character, instead of the button above.


Japan an koku
Darkness Wall Scroll

暗黒 is the two-character Japanese word for darkness.

The first Kanji can mean unilluminated, dark, gloomy, hidden, secret.
The second character means black or dark.

Together, these two Kanji will be understood as dark or darkness.


China hēi àn
Darkness Wall Scroll

黑闇 is the two-character Chinese word for darkness.

The first character alone means black or dark.

The second character has several possible meanings, depending on context; They include: to shut the door, unilluminated, dark, gloomy, hidden, secret.

Together, these two characters will, in most cases, simply be translated as "dark" or "darkness."


Japan kurai
Kurai Wall Scroll

This Japanese word means dark, gloomy, depressed, dispirited, sorrowful, unclear, and/or unknown.

Night / Evening

Japan yoru
Night / Evening Wall Scroll

As simple as that, this is the character that means evening or night in Chinese, Korean and Japanese. Sometimes can mean "in the dark."


China hēi
Japan kuro
Black Wall Scroll

黑 is the color black in Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean Hanja.

In some context, this can mean "dark" or "evil."

黒There is an alternate form of this character which is commonly used in modern Japan (shown to the right). If you want this alternate/Japanese form, just click on the character to the right, instead of the button above.

Black Raven

Japan karasu
Black Raven Wall Scroll

This character can mean raven or crow but is also used as an alternate way to write the color black. Therefore, this is a symbol of the black raven (with emphasis on black). This can also mean rook or dark.

Notes: This can be the Japanese surname Karasu, or Chinese surname Wu.

Time and Tide Wait for No Man

Japan kouinya no goto shi
Time and Tide Wait for No Man Wall Scroll

This Japanese proverb means, "time flies like an arrow." It's very similar to the English idiom, "time and tide wait for no man," or "life is short."

The Kanji breakdown:
光陰 = Time (the cycle of light and dark).
[and an]
矢 = Arrow
の = are
如し = Alike

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

Tranquil Midnight

China yè shēn rén jìng
Tranquil Midnight Wall Scroll

This literally means, "Night Deep/Dark People Quiet/Tranquil."

In more natural English, some translate this as "late night, all is quiet," "tranquil midnight," or "in the dead of night" (implying the dead quiet of midnight).


Single character for brown color
Japan katsu
Brown Wall Scroll

褐 is the most simple way to express brown in Chinese. It also means brown in Japanese but this character is not often written alone in Japanese (they would tend to write 褐色 (brown color) to refer to brown, or the color of tanned skin.

In some context, this can refer to gray or a dark color, or coarse hemp cloth.

In Buddhist context, it can refer to a coarse serge (cheaply sewn clothing) hence poverty.

Note: In Taiwanese Mandarin, this is spoken with the 2nd or rising tone instead of the 4th or falling tone used in the mainland.

The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn

China lí míng qián de hēi àn
The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn Wall Scroll

黎明前的黑暗 is the most natural way to write, "The night is darkest before the dawn," in Chinese.

The words break down this way by meaning this way:
1.黎明 dawn / daybreak
2.前 before / in front / ago / former / previous / earlier / front
3.的 (possessive particle) / of
4.黑暗 dark / darkly / darkness

If you try to understand the Chinese word order and grammar, it's like, "Before dawn, is the darkest [time]".

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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
Dark Sister 黑闇女koku an nyo
hēi àn nǚ
hei1 an4 nv3
hei an nv
hei an nü
Dark Angel 黑暗天使hēi àn tiān shǐ
hei1 an4 tian1 shi3
hei an tian shi
hei an t`ien shih
hei an tien shih
Dark Angel 暗天使àn tiān shǐ
an4 tian1 shi3
an tian shi
an t`ien shih
an tien shih
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark 信唸是在黎明前的黑闇中能感到光明的鳥
xìn niǎn shì zài lí míng qián de hēi àn zhōng néng gǎn dào guāng míng de niǎo
xin4 nian3 shi4 zai4 li2 ming2 qian2 de hei1 an4 zhong1 neng2 gan3 dao4 guang1 ming2 de niao3
xin nian shi zai li ming qian de hei an zhong neng gan dao guang ming de niao
hsin nien shih tsai li ming ch`ien te hei an chung neng kan tao kuang ming te niao
hsin nien shih tsai li ming chien te hei an chung neng kan tao kuang ming te niao
Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened, Listen to One Side and be in the Dark 兼聽則明偏聽則暗
jiān tīng zé míng, piān tīng zé àn
jian1 ting1 ze2 ming2, pian1 ting1 ze2 an4
jian ting ze ming, pian ting ze an
chien t`ing tse ming, p`ien t`ing tse an
chien ting tse ming, pien ting tse an
yamiàn / an4 / an
Darkness 暗黒an koku / ankoku
Darkness 黑闇
hēi àn / hei1 an4 / hei an / heian
Kurai 暗いkurai
yoruyè / ye4 / ye yeh
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 Dark Kanji, Dark Characters, Dark in Mandarin Chinese, Dark Characters, Dark in Chinese Writing, Dark in Japanese Writing, Dark in Asian Writing, Dark Ideograms, Chinese Dark symbols, Dark Hieroglyphics, Dark Glyphs, Dark in Chinese Letters, Dark Hanzi, Dark in Japanese Kanji, Dark Pictograms, Dark in the Chinese Written-Language, or Dark in the Japanese Written-Language.