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Quick links to words on this page...
| 1. Three Kingdoms
2. Romance of the Three Kingdoms
3. Zhuge Liang
4. Guandi: God of War
| 5. Zhang Fei|
6. Guan Yu
7. Tiger Rumor
三國 is the title for the Three Kingdoms period (220-280 A.D.) in Chinese history.
In Korean Hanja, this can also refer to one of several Three Kingdoms periods in Korean history.
In Japanese, this could refer to the Chinese Three Kingdoms period, or be the surname Mitsukuni.
諸葛亮 is the name Zhuge Liang, written in Chinese.
Zhuge Liang lived from 181 to 234 A.D.
He was a military leader and prime minister of Shu Han (蜀漢) during the Three Kingdoms period.
He was the main hero of the fictional Romance of Three Kingdoms.
He is considered a famous sage, philosopher, and military genius.
關羽 is the name Guan Yu, Army General for the Kingdom of Shu.
He is also known as Guan Gong (like saying Duke Guan or Sir Guan)
He was immortalized in the novel, "Romance of the Three Kingdoms."
He was a fearsome fighter, also famous for his virtue and loyalty. He is worshiped by some modern-day soldiers and has the title "Warrior Saint" in China. Some believe he offers safety and protection for military servicemen.
Guan Yu lived until 219 A.D.
These four characters together relay the meaning that can be expressed in English as, "When three people say there's a tiger running in the street, you believe it."
Of course, there is an ancient story behind this idiom...
This is actually a proverb that resulted from a conversation that occurred around 300 B.C.
The conversation was between the king of the Wei kingdom and one of the king's ministers named Pang Cong.
It was near the end of one of many wars, this time with the Zhao kingdom. Pang Cong was to be sent by the king to the Zhao kingdom with the king's son who was to be held hostage. It was common at the time for a king to make his son a hostage to secure stable peace between warring kingdoms.
Before minister Pang Cong departed, he asked his king, "If one person told you there was a tiger running in the street, would you believe it?."
"No," the king said.
The minister continued, "What if two people told you?"
The king replied, "Well, I would have my doubts but I might believe it."
The minister continued, "So, what if three people told you that there is a tiger running in the streets?"
The king replied, "Yes, I would believe it, it must be true if three people say it."
The minister then reminded the king, "Your son and I are now traveling far away to live in the distant Zhao kingdom - much farther from your palace than the street. Rumors may fly about me in my absence, so I hope your majesty will weight such rumors appropriately."
The king replied, "I have every trust in you, do not worry"
While the minister was gone, the king's enemies gossiped about minister Pang Cong on many occasions. At first, the king thought nothing of these comments and rumors. But slowly as the rumors mounted, the king began to suspect ill of his minister.
Some time later when peace was well-established, the minister and prince were freed and returned to the kingdom of Wei. The king received his son, BUT DID NOT EVEN SUMMON MINISTER PANG CONG TO THE PALACE!
Hopefully this story will help you see how dangerous words can be when used to promote rumors, or create ill will. And perhaps will inspire you to not believe everything you hear.
There is also a secondary suggestion in this idiom that gossip is as ferocious as a tiger. Some Chinese people who don't know the ancient story above may believe that this scroll means that rumors are as vicious as three tigers.
Note: This proverb appears in my Korean dictionary but is not well-known in Korea.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|mitsu kuni / mitsukuni||sān guó / san1 guo2 / san guo / sanguo||san kuo / sankuo|
|Romance of the Three Kingdoms||三國演義|
|sān guó yǎn yì
san1 guo2 yan3 yi4
san guo yan yi
|san kuo yen i
|zhū gě liàng
zhu1 ge3 liang4
zhu ge liang
|chu ko liang
|Guandi: God of War||關帝|
|kan tei / kantei||Guān dì / Guan1 di4 / Guan di / Guandi||Kuan ti / Kuanti|
|chou hi / chouhi / cho hi / chohi||zhāng fēi
|guān yǔ / guan1 yu3 / guan yu / guanyu||kuan yü / kuanyü|
|Tiger Rumor||三人成虎||sān rén chéng hǔ
san1 ren2 cheng2 hu3
san ren cheng hu
|san jen ch`eng hu
san jen cheng hu
|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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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.
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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 Three Kingdoms Kanji, Three Kingdoms Characters, Three Kingdoms in Mandarin Chinese, Three Kingdoms Characters, Three Kingdoms in Chinese Writing, Three Kingdoms in Japanese Writing, Three Kingdoms in Asian Writing, Three Kingdoms Ideograms, Chinese Three Kingdoms symbols, Three Kingdoms Hieroglyphics, Three Kingdoms Glyphs, Three Kingdoms in Chinese Letters, Three Kingdoms Hanzi, Three Kingdoms in Japanese Kanji, Three Kingdoms Pictograms, Three Kingdoms in the Chinese Written-Language, or Three Kingdoms in the Japanese Written-Language.