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Quick links to words on this page...
| 1. The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn
2. Diligent Study Proverb
3. Good Night
| 6. Mountain Travels Poem by Dumu
7. Night / Evening
9. One Who Does Not Do Bad Things, Worries Not of Knocks at His Door
10. Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also
|11. Only the sleepless know the length of night|
12. Tranquil Midnight
13. Tranquil Night
14. Yin Yang
This 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]".
This Chinese proverb means, "Bore a hole on the wall to make use of the neighbor's light to study."
This is a nice gift for a very studious person.
Kuang Heng was born during the Western Han period. He was very fond of reading ever since he was young. However, he could not go to school since his family was poor, and he had to borrow books from people to learn.
In order to borrow these books he normally did chores for people who had them. When he became older, he had to work in the field from sunrise to sunset since his family's financial situation did not get any better. Thus, he tried to study at night but he had no lamp.
One day, he noticed that there was light from the neighbor's house coming through a crack in the wall. This made him very happy, so he dug a larger hole from the crack and read in the light that shone through. This diligent study eventually made him an accomplished person.
お休み is how to write "good night" in Japanese.
It literally means, "taking a rest."
お休み is not a normal title for a calligraphy wall scroll. It might be appropriate for a hotel front desk if anything.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
This poem was written almost 1200 years ago during the Tang dynasty. It depicts traveling up a place known as Cold Mountain, where some hearty people have built their homes. The traveler is overwhelmed by the beauty of the turning leaves of the maple forest that surrounds him just as night overtakes the day, and darkness prevails. His heart implores him to stop, and take in all of the beauty around him.
First before you get to the full translation, I must tell you that Chinese poetry is a lot different than what we have in the west. Chinese words simply don't rhyme in the same way that English, or other western languages do. Chinese poetry depends on rhythm and a certain beat of repeated numbers of characters.
I have done my best to translate this poem keeping a certain feel of the original poet. But some of the original beauty of the poem in it's original Chinese will be lost in translation.
Far away on Cold Mountain, a stone path leads upwards.
Among white clouds peoples homes reside.
Stopping my carriage I must, as to admire the maple forest at nights fall.
In awe of autumn leaves showing more red than even flowers of early spring.
Hopefully, this poem will remind you to stop, and "take it all in" as you travel through life.
The poet's name is "Du Mu" in Chinese that is: .
The title of the poem, "Mountain Travels" is:
You can have the title, poet's name, and even Tang Dynasty written as an inscription on your custom wall scroll if you like.
More about the poet:
Dumu lived from 803-852 AD and was a leading Chinese poet during the later part of the Tang dynasty.
He was born in Chang'an, a city of central China and former capital of the ancient Chinese empire in 221-206 BC. In present day China, his birthplace is currently known as Xi'an, the home of the Terracotta Soldiers.
He was awarded his Jinshi degree (an exam administered by the emperor's court which leads to becoming an official of the court) at the age of 25, and went on to hold many official positions over the years. However, he never achieved a high rank, apparently because of some disputes between various factions, and his family's criticism of the government. His last post in the court was his appointment to the office of Secretariat Drafter.
During his life, he wrote scores of narrative poems, as well as a commentary on the Art of War and many letters of advice to high officials.
His poems were often very realistic, and often depicted every day life. He wrote poems about everything, from drinking beer in a tavern to weepy poems about lost love.
The thing that strikes you most is the fact even after 1200 years, not much has changed about the beauty of nature, toils and troubles of love and beer drinking.
As simple as that, this is the character that means evening or night in Chinese, Korean and Japanese. Sometimes can mean "in the dark."
This literally translates as: [If one does] not do bad things in the daytime, one need not be alarmed at knocks on the door in the middle of the night.
The meaning is something like, "A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder." Basically, the message is, "don't commit crimes and you won't be jumpy every time the doorbell rings (so don't do anything wrong and your life will have fewer worries and you can sleep at night)".
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.
This literally translates as: [Only one who does] not sleep, learns how long the night is; [Only by] long acquaintance [does one] learn a person ['s true] character.
Basically, this proverb suggests that we really need to experience something intimately and for a long time to really know everything about it.
This can also be translated as, "Spending years with someone is the only way to know them."
Note: Sometimes this proverb is split into just the first or second idea alone (first 5 or last 5 characters only).
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
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn||黎明前的黑暗||lí míng qián de hēi àn
li2 ming2 qian2 de hei1 an4
li ming qian de hei an
|li ming ch`ien te hei an
li ming chien te hei an
|Diligent Study Proverb||鑿壁偷光|
|záo bì tōu guāng
zao2 bi4 tou1 guang1
zao bi tou guang
|tsao pi t`ou kuang
tsao pi tou kuang
|Good Night||晚安||wǎn ān / wan3 an1 / wan an / wanan|
|Meiya||明夜||mei ya / meiya|
|Mountain Travels Poem by Dumu||遠上寒山石徑斜白雲生處有人家停車坐愛楓林晚霜葉紅於二月花|
|yuǎn shàng hán shān shí jìng xiá bái yún shēng chù yǒu rén jiā tíng chē zuò ài fēng lín wǎn shuàng yè hóng yú èr yuè huā
yuan3 shang4 han2 shan1 shi2 jing4 xia2 bai2 yun2 sheng1 chu4 you3 ren2 jia1 ting2 che1 zuo4 ai4 feng1 lin2 wan3 shuang4 ye4 hong2 yu2 er4 yue4 hua1
yuan shang han shan shi jing xia bai yun sheng chu you ren jia ting che zuo ai feng lin wan shuang ye hong yu er yue hua
|yüan shang han shan shih ching hsia pai yün sheng ch`u yu jen chia t`ing ch`e tso ai feng lin wan shuang yeh hung yü erh yüeh hua
yüan shang han shan shih ching hsia pai yün sheng chu yu jen chia ting che tso ai feng lin wan shuang yeh hung yü erh yüeh hua
|夜||yoru||yè / ye4 / ye||yeh|
|Night||夜晚||yè wǎn / ye4 wan3 / ye wan / yewan||yeh wan / yehwan|
|One Who Does Not Do Bad Things, Worries Not of Knocks at His Door||白天不做虧心事夜半敲門不吃驚|
|bái tiān bù zuò kuī xīn shì yè bàn qiāo mén bù chī jīng
bai2 tian1 bu4 zuo4 kui1 xin1 shi4 ye4 ban4 qiao1 men2 bu4 chi1 jing1
bai tian bu zuo kui xin shi ye ban qiao men bu chi jing
|pai t`ien pu tso k`uei hsin shih yeh pan ch`iao men pu ch`ih ching
pai tien pu tso kuei hsin shih yeh pan chiao men pu chih ching
|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 Night Kanji, Night Characters, Night in Mandarin Chinese, Night Characters, Night in Chinese Writing, Night in Japanese Writing, Night in Asian Writing, Night Ideograms, Chinese Night symbols, Night Hieroglyphics, Night Glyphs, Night in Chinese Letters, Night Hanzi, Night in Japanese Kanji, Night Pictograms, Night in the Chinese Written-Language, or Night in the Japanese Written-Language.