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| 1. Five Elements
2. Four Elements
3. Five Elements
4. Five Elements Tai Chi Fist
6. Gold / Metal
7. Sky / Air / Ether / Space
11. Shidai / Sida / Mahabhuta
12. Wind and Rain
14. Ba Gua
|16. Sky / Ether / Void / Emptiness / Unreality
17. Body and Mind
19. Shingitai / Shin Gi Tai
20. Fire Tiger
27. Yin Yang
29. Bravery / Courage
30. Beauty of Nature
|31. Will of Fire|
32. Strong Hearted / Strong Willed
33. Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also
五行 is the title of the five elements which are: wood, fire, water, earth, and metal.
The first character means "5" and the second character is simply "elements."
According to ancient Chinese science, all matter in the world is made up of these elements. One idea presented with the five elements is that when energy is added, matter is believed to expand. When energy is removed, matter contracts. Oddly, this concept is not far from Einstein's theories, and modern science. Just a few thousand years before Einstein.
More info: Wikipedia - Five Elements (Wu Xing).
地水火風 is a Buddhist term that means "earth, water, fire, wind." 地水火風 is often just referred to as "the four elements." There is a more common title (the five elements) which adds wood to the mix. These four elements are used in some sects of Japanese Buddhism (not so much in Chinese).
地水火風空 is the specifically-Japanese version of the five elements. 地水火風空 is a little different than the ancient or original Chinese version.
The elements are written in this order:
1. Earth / Terra / Ground
4. Wind / Air
5. Sky / Emptiness / Void / Ether
Note: This set of Kanji can also be romanized as "ji sui ka fuu kuu," "jisuikafuukuu," or "jisuikafuku."
These can also be written in the order 地火風水空 (chi ka sui fuu kuu). Let me know when you place your order if you want the Kanji to be in this character order.
金木水火土 is a list of the Chinese characters for the five elements in a comfortable order (meaning that they simply "feel right" to a Chinese person who views this arrangement).
The order is metal, wood, water, fire, earth.
Note that sometimes the metal element is translated as gold. And earth refers to soil versus the whole planet earth.
五行太極拳 is a certain school or style of Tai Chi (Taiji). The characters literally mean "Five Elements Tai Chi Fist."
In Taiwan, it would be Romanized as "Wu Hsing Tai Chi Chuan" - see the standard Mandarin method above in the gray box (used in mainland China and the official Romanization used by the Library of Congress).
The last three characters are sometimes translated as "Grand Ultimate Fist," so the whole thing can be "Five Elements Grand Ultimate Fist" if you wish.
I have not confirmed the use of this title in Korean but if it is used, it's probably only by martial arts enthusiasts. The pronunciation is correct as shown above for Korean.
木 is the symbol for wood in Japanese, Korean and Chinese. This can sometimes mean "tree" depending on context. In fact, the character comes from a pictogram that is supposed to resemble a tree.
Wood is one of the five elements that ancient Chinese believed all things were composed of. These elements are also part of the cycle of Chinese astrology. Every person has both an animal sign, and one of the five elements according to the date of their birth. See also Five Elements and Chinese 12 Animals / Zodiac.
金 is the symbol for metal (often means gold or money) in Chinese, Korean and Japanese.
In an interesting twist, in Japanese, this Kanji can also mean "Friday." I guess Friday is "the golden day" in Japan.
Gold / Metal is one of the five elements that ancient Chinese believed all things were composed of. These elements are also part of the cycle of Chinese astrology. Every person has both an animal sign, and one of the five elements according to the date of their birth. See also Five Elements and Chinese 12 Animals / Zodiac.
水 is the symbol for water in Japanese and Chinese.
Water is one of the five elements that ancient Chinese believed all things were composed of. These elements are also part of the cycle of Chinese astrology. Every person has both an animal sign, and one of the five elements according to the date of their birth. See also Five Elements and Chinese 12 Animals / Zodiac.
土 is earth, soil, ground or Terra.
Earth is one of the five elements that ancient Chinese believed all things were composed of. These elements are also part of the cycle of Chinese astrology. Every person has both an animal sign, and one of the five elements according to the date of their birth.
See also: Five Elements and Chinese 12 Animals / Zodiac.
火 is the symbol for fire, flame, or blaze in Chinese, Korean and Japanese.
Fire is one of the five elements that ancient Chinese believed all things were composed of. These elements are also part of the cycle of Chinese astrology. Every person has both an animal sign, and one of the five elements according to the date of their birth. See also Five Elements and Chinese 12 Animals / Zodiac.
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.
風雨 is wind and rain in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
This can also refer to the elements or trials and hardships (in life).
地 is the single-character element and title of the planet Earth in Chinese, old Korean Hanja and Japanese Kanji.
Because this is a single-character, the definition is a little ambiguous, and can have many meanings depending on the context in which it is used. These meanings include: earth, ground, land, soil, dirt, place, territory, bottom (of a package, book, etc.), earth (one of the Japanese five elements), the region in question, the local area, skin, texture, fabric, material, weave, base, background, one's true nature, narrative (i.e. descriptive part of a story), real life, actuality, etc.
In Japanese, this Kanji can be pronounced several ways, including chi, ji, tsushi, or tsuchi.
地 is also an element of the Japanese version of the five elements (the original Chinese version uses a different version of earth).
鋼 is the Chinese character and Japanese Kanji for steel (as in iron mixed with carbon and other elements to make it stronger).
This can also be the name Hagane in Japanese. Like Mr. Steel in English. It can also be pronounced as Tsuyoshi or Kou when used as personal or given names in Japan.
This single character means empty, void, hollow, vacant, vacuum, blank, nonexistent, vacuity, voidness, emptiness, non-existence, immateriality, unreality, the false or illusory nature of all existence, being unreal.
In Buddhist context, this relates to the doctrine that all phenomena and the ego have no reality but are composed of a certain number of skandhas or elements, which disintegrate. The void, the sky, space. The universal, the absolute, complete abstraction without relativity. The doctrine further explains that all things are compounds, or unstable organisms, possessing no self-essence, i.e. are dependent, or caused, come into existence only to perish. The underlying reality, the principle of eternal relativity, or non-infinity, i.e. śūnya, permeates all phenomena making possible their evolution.
From Sanskrit and/or Pali, this is the translation to Chinese and Japanese of the title śūnya or śūnyatā.
In Japanese, when pronounced as "ron" (sounds like "roan") this can be a given name. It should be noted that this Kanji has about 5 different possible pronunciations in Japanese: kuu, kara, sora, ron, and uro. 空 is also an element in the Japanese version of the five elements.
身心 means, "body and mind" or "mental and physical" in Chinese and Japanese.
In the Buddhist context, body and mind encompass the five elements (skandha) of a sentient being.
The body is the physical material (rūpa) of life. Mind embraces the other four skandhas which are consciousness, perception, action, and knowledge.
土星 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja for the planet Saturn.
The literal meaning of these characters is "earth star". The earth character is on of the five elements of Chinese culture. This earth character regards soil or dirt, not the planet Earth.
Saturn has been titled 土星 for at least 2000 years.
心技体 is the Japanese title "shin gi tai" or "shingitai."
This can refer to the three elements of Sumo wrestlers or martial artists, "heart-technique-physique."
Here is what each character represents:
心 shin) mind, heart and spirit.
技 (gi) skill, knowledge and experience.
体 (ti) body and physical effort.
These characters have the same meanings in Chinese, though this title is used much more often in Japanese.
火虎 is the Chinese and Japanese title for "fire tiger".
If you were born between 9 Feb 1986 and 28 Jan 1987, or between 13 Feb 1926 and 1 Feb 1927, you are a fire tiger according to the Chinese Zodiac.
There are 12 animals and 5 elements in the cycle. Therefore, the fire tiger comes around once every 60 years. The next will be in 2046.
The branch of the zodiac for tiger is written 寅 when dating ancient documents and artwork, but 虎 is the way to write the character for an actual tiger.
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." This character 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.
At essence, this word means science. But it's a very ambiguous and open term. This character speaks to the reason that all things exist, and how things work from the microscopic to the cosmic level.
There are many translations for this word, including: inner essence; intrinsic order; reason; logic; truth; science; natural science (esp. physics); principle; the underlying principles of the cosmos; way of things; ruling principle; fundamental law; intrinsicality; universal basis; essential element.
If you are a scientist, or just searching for, "the answer to life, the universe, and everything," this could be the character for you.
丑 can refer to the astrological time of the ox, or a Chinese surname, Chou.
丑 represents the 2nd earthly branch. In daily time, 1:00-3:00 AM, or the 12th/last month in the Chinese calendar.
In an ancient year-naming scheme, this can represent the year of the Ox (one of twelve animals paired with one of five element characters yielding a 60-year cycle).
The first character has the element of "horse" in it, and alone can mean "one who rides." Together, these characters can be translated as "riding soldier" or "horseman soldier," which of course can also be translated as "knight."
Can also be translated as "cavalier."
空無 is "nothingness" in a Buddhist context.
The first character means empty but can also mean air or sky (air and sky have no form).
The second character means have not, no, none, not or to lack.
Together these characters reinforce each other into a word that means "absolute nothingness."
I know this is a term used in Buddhism but I have not yet figured out the context in which it is used. I suppose it can be the fact that Buddhists believe that the world in a non-real illusion, or perhaps it's about visualizing yourself as "nothing" and therefore leaving behind your desire and worldliness.
Buddhist concepts and titles often have this element of ambiguity or rather "mystery." Therefore, such ideas can have different meanings to different people, and that's okay. If you don't get it right in this lifetime, as there will be plenty more lifetimes to master it (whatever "it" is, and if "it" really exists at all).
Soothill defines this as "Unreality, or immateriality, of things, which is defined as nothing existing of independent or self-contained nature."
學生 is how to write "student" in Chinese, pre-WWII Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
If you are a "student of life," this might be an interesting wall scroll to hang in your reading room.
The first character means "study" or "learning."
The second character means "life" or "birth." Don't read too much into that second character, unless you decide that this means "the birth of studies" or "the life of learning." Everyone in China, Japan, (and those who can read Hanja in Korea) will just read this word with the meaning of "student."
If you put the character for "little" in front of this word, it becomes "elementary school student." Prefixed with "middle" it becomes "middle school student." Prefixed with "big" it becomes "university student" (though when these two characters for student are seen alone, it often suggests "university student"). The term "high school student" is written differently.
There is a very common simplified version of the first character for this word. You will see this form in modern Japan and mainland China, Singapore, and other places. If you want this simplified version, please click on the character shown to the right instead of the "select and customize" button above.
These are the characters that literally mean yin and yang in written form (versus the common yin yang symbol). The first character has the element of the moon, while the second character has the element of the sun, so you can see, even in written form, they suggest the balance of opposites (of night and day). You could also translate this title as "sun and moon."
Note: This title is often misspelled as Ying Yang instead of Yin Yang.
See Also: Taoism
精髓 / 精髄 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja for essence. This can also be translated as marrow, pith, quintessence, kernel, spirit, etc.
This often refers to the nature or basis of whatever element, plant, animal, being, person, or thing you are talking about.
The original Chinese version (also Korean Hanja) and modern Japanese version of the second character differ a tiny bit:
Both versions are so close that both Chinese and Japanese people will recognize this word. If you want the specifically-Japanese version, click on this link instead of the button above: Order Essence in Japanese
There are several ways to express bravery and courage in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. This version is the most spiritual. 勇氣 is the essence of bravery from deep within your being. 勇氣 is the mental state of being brave versus actual brave behavior. You'd more likely use this to say, "He is very courageous," rather than "He fought courageously in the battle."
The first character also means bravery or courage when it's seen alone. With the second character added, an element of energy or spirit is added. The second character is the same "chi" or "qi" energy that Kung Fu masters focus when they strike. For this reason, you could say this means "spirit of courage" or "brave spirit."
勇氣 is certainly a stronger word than just the first character alone.
Beyond bravery or courage, dictionaries also translate this word as valor/valour, nerve, audacity, daring, pluck, plucky, gallantry, guts, gutsy and boldness.
勇氣 is also one of the 8 key concepts of tang soo do.
While the version shown to the left is commonly used in Chinese and Korean Hanja (and ancient Japanese Kanji), please note that the second character is written with slightly fewer strokes in modern Japanese. If you want the modern Japanese version, please click on the character to the right. Both styles would be understood by native Chinese, Japanese, and many (but not all) Korean people. You should make your selection based on the intended audience for your calligraphy artwork. Or pick the single-character form of bravery/courage which is universal.
花鳥風月 is the Japanese Kanji proverb for "Beauties of Nature."
The dictionary definition is, "the traditional themes of natural beauty in Japanese aesthetics."
The Kanji each represents an element of nature that constitute beauty in traditional Japanese art and culture.
The Kanji breakdown:
花 = ka = flower (also pronounced "hana")
鳥 = chou = bird (also pronounced "tori").
風 = fuu = wind (also pronounced "kaze").
月 = getsu = moon (also pronounced "tsuki")
This phrase can mean either "strong hearted," "strong willed" or "determination."
The first two characters can be translated as "will," "willpower," "determination," "volition," "intention," or "intent." But, it should be noted that this first part possess the element of "heart" in the lower portion of both characters (they also partially carry the meaning "with whole heart").
The last two characters mean "strong" or "staunch."
Chinese word order and grammar is a bit different than English, so in this case, they are in reverse order of English but have the correct meaning in a natural form.
Many things have opposite properties. The water you drink can also drown you. Pork may nourish you and keep you alive but under-cook it and it could kill you. Potassium nitrate is often used as a fertilizer to grow the food that sustains us but it's also been used as an explosive to topple buildings and destroy us.
This concept is easily associated with "yin yang" where an element has two opposite properties that are as different as night and day.
This proverb's meaning can be summed up this way: "Anything that can lead you to success may also contain great risks."
This phrase is known in literary circles by Korean people (scholars or literature). It is therefore also a valid proverb in Korean Hanja, though most Koreans would not be able to make sense of it.
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.
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Five Elements||五行||gogyou / gogyo||wǔ xíng / wu3 xing2 / wu xing / wuxing||wu hsing / wuhsing|
|dì shuǐ huǒ fēng
di4 shui3 huo3 feng1
di shui huo feng
|ti shui huo feng
|chi sui ka fuu kuu|
chi sui ka fu ku
|Five Elements||金木水火土||jīn mù shuǐ huǒ tǔ
jin1 mu4 shui3 huo3 tu3
jin mu shui huo tu
|chin mu shui huo t`u
chin mu shui huo tu
|Five Elements Tai Chi Fist||五行太極拳|
|go gyou tai kyoku ken|
go gyo tai kyoku ken
|wǔ xíng tài jí quán
wu3 xing2 tai4 ji2 quan2
wu xing tai ji quan
|wu hsing t`ai chi ch`üan
wu hsing tai chi chüan
|Wood||木||ki||mù / mu4 / mu|
|金||kin||jīn / jin1 / jin||chin|
|天空||ten kuu / tenkuu / ten ku / tenku||tiān kōng
|Water||水||mizu||shuǐ / shui3 / shui|
|Earth||土||tsuchi||tǔ / tu3 / tu||t`u / tu|
|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 Elements Kanji, Elements Characters, Elements in Mandarin Chinese, Elements Characters, Elements in Chinese Writing, Elements in Japanese Writing, Elements in Asian Writing, Elements Ideograms, Chinese Elements symbols, Elements Hieroglyphics, Elements Glyphs, Elements in Chinese Letters, Elements Hanzi, Elements in Japanese Kanji, Elements Pictograms, Elements in the Chinese Written-Language, or Elements in the Japanese Written-Language.