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Late in Chinese / Japanese...

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Start your custom "Late" project by clicking the button next to your favorite "Late" title below...

  1. Better Late Than Never

  2. Marco Polo

  3. Tranquil Night

  4. Tranquil Midnight

  5. Do not take action until the time is right

  6. Tea Fate


Better Late Than Never

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

Marco Polo

China mǎ kě bō luó
Marco Polo Vertical Wall Scroll

馬可波羅 is the Chinese title for Marco Polo, the Venetian explorer who traveled the Silk road to China in the late 1200's AD.

Tranquil Night

Japan seiya
Tranquil Night Vertical Wall Scroll

静夜 is a Japanese word meaning, "quiet night" or "tranquil night." It implies late night, such as midnight.

静夜 is also a female given name in Japanese, Seiya.

Tranquil Midnight

China yè shēn rén jìng
Tranquil Midnight Vertical 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).

Do not take action until the time is right

China bù dào huǒ hou bù jiē guō
Do not take action until the time is right Vertical Wall Scroll

This literally translates as: Don't take the lid off the pot until the food is done.

Figuratively, this means: Don't take action until the time is right.

You can take this as a call to be patient, or picking just the right time to do something (not too early, not too late).

Tea Fate

China chá yuán
Tea Fate Vertical 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.

Search for Late in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary




This in-stock artwork might be what you are looking for, and ships right away...

Gallery Price: $100.00

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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
Better Late Than Never亡羊補牢猶未為晚
亡羊补牢犹未为晚
wáng yáng bǔ láo yóu wèi wéi wǎn
wang2 yang2 bu3 lao2 you2 wei4 wei2 wan3
wang yang bu lao you wei wei wan
wang yang pu lao yu wei wei wan
wangyangpulaoyuweiweiwan
Marco Polo馬可波羅
马可波罗
mǎ kě bō luó
ma3 ke3 bo1 luo2
ma ke bo luo
makeboluo
ma k`o po lo
makopolo
ma ko po lo
Tranquil Night静夜seiya
Tranquil Midnight夜深人靜
夜深人静
yè shēn rén jìng
ye4 shen1 ren2 jing4
ye shen ren jing
yeshenrenjing
yeh shen jen ching
yehshenjenching
Do not take action until the time is right不到火候不揭鍋
不到火候不揭锅
bù dào huǒ hou bù jiē guō
bu4 dao4 huo3 hou bu4 jie1 guo1
bu dao huo hou bu jie guo
budaohuohoubujieguo
pu tao huo hou pu chieh kuo
putaohuohoupuchiehkuo
Tea Fate茶緣
茶缘
chá yuán / cha2 yuan2 / cha yuan / chayuanch`a yüan / chayüan / cha yüan
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 Late Kanji, Late Characters, Late in Mandarin Chinese, Late Characters, Late in Chinese Writing, Late in Japanese Writing, Late in Asian Writing, Late Ideograms, Chinese Late symbols, Late Hieroglyphics, Late Glyphs, Late in Chinese Letters, Late Hanzi, Late in Japanese Kanji, Late Pictograms, Late in the Chinese Written-Language, or Late in the Japanese Written-Language.