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Learn From Your Past in Chinese / Japanese...

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Learn New Ways From Old

New ideas coming from past history
China wēn gù zhī xīn
Japan on ko chi shin
Learn New Ways From Old Vertical Wall Scroll

溫故知新 is a proverb from Confucius that is used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures.

It can be translated several ways:
Coming up with new ideas based on things learned in the past.
Examine things of the past, and obtain the new knowledge.
Developing new ideas based on study of the past.
Gain new insights through restudying old issues.
Understand the present by reviewing the past.
Learning from the past.
Review the old and know the new.
Taking a lesson from the past.
Taking a lesson from the wisdom of the ancients.
Follow the old ways.

The direct translation would be, "By asking old things know new things."
The Character meanings breakdown this way:
溫故 = ask old
知新 = know new

Explained: To learn new things that are outside of your experience, you can learn from old things of the past. You can find wisdom from history.


温 Note: Japanese use a simplified version of the first Kanji in modern times. So if you order this from our Japanese master calligrapher, expect the first Kanji to look like the one shown to the right.

Learn From Your Predecessors

When the cart in front overturns, be cautions with your own
China qián chē zhī fù hòu chē zhī jiàn
Learn From Your Predecessors Vertical Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb suggests looking at the circumstances and toils of those you proceeded before you, and learning from their experience.

This more literally means, "the cart in front overturns, a warning to the following cart."

This is figuratively translated as, "draw lesson from the failure of one's predecessor," "learn from past mistakes," or compared to the English idiom, "once bitten twice shy."

Other more-direct translations:
Make the overturning of the chariot in front a warning for the chariot behind.
Learn caution through an unpleasant experience.
The wrecked coach in front should be a warning.
The overturned cart in front serves as a warning to the carts behind.

Search for Learn From Your Past in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary




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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
Learn New Ways From Old溫故知新
温故知新
on ko chi shin
onkochishin
wēn gù zhī xīn
wen1 gu4 zhi1 xin1
wen gu zhi xin
wenguzhixin
wen ku chih hsin
wenkuchihhsin
Learn From Your Predecessors前車之覆后車之鑒
前车之覆后车之鉴
qián chē zhī fù hòu chē zhī jiàn
qian2 che1 zhi1 fu4 hou4 che1 zhi1 jian4
qian che zhi fu hou che zhi jian
ch`ien ch`e chih fu hou ch`e chih chien
chien che chih fu hou che chih chien
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.

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