See also our Chinese Zodiac and Animal Signs webpage.
If you were born in the year of the tiger, or just like tigers a lot, you can find a great piece of Asian tiger calligraphy artwork here.
Start by clicking on a button next to your favorite title below...
Quick links to words on this page...
| 1. Tiger
2. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
3. Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger
4. The Spirit of the Dragon Horse,...
5. Dragon Snake Tiger...
| 6. The Spirit of Dragon and Tiger
7. Fierce Tiger
8. Flying Tigers
9. Flying Tigers AVG
10. How can you catch tiger cubs...
|11. Tiger Heart|
12. Tiger Rumor
13. White Tiger
14. Water Tiger
15. Fire Tiger
虎 is the character for tiger in Chinese, old Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji.
Since you already know what a tiger is, here's some trivia: If you look at the Japanese pronunciation, you might remember a movie called "Tora Tora Tora" which was the code word used to initiate the attack on Pearl Harbor. It simply means "Tiger Tiger Tiger."
In Chinese culture, the tiger is considered to be the king of all animals (in much the way we see the lion in western culture).
From the Chinese Zodiac, if you were born in the year of the tiger, you . . .
Have a strong personality.
Are full of self-confidence.
Don't like to obey others.
臥虎藏龍 is the movie title of the Kung Fu epic that was very popular in the west a few years back.
臥虎藏龍 is actually a re-ordering of an ancient Chinese proverb that refers to undiscovered talents.
The movie was one of the most popular Chinese foreign films to ever debut in the USA but received a lukewarm reception in China.
Note: This can be pronounced in Korean but it's not a commonly used term.
The meaning of 藏龍臥虎 is that both the tiger and dragon have amazing talents, but if they are out of view, you may not have discovered them.
This old Chinese idiom/proverb is appropriate for someone with amazing ability that keeps that ability hidden.
You might think this title is in reverse, but actually, this is the original Chinese proverb.
The movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon popularized this alternate version.
龍馬精神虎虎生威 is an old proverb that is used to wish someone great health and success combined as a great compliment.
The meaning is "The vigor and spirit of the legendary dragon-horse, and the power and prestige of the tiger."
By giving a wall scroll like this to someone, you were either wishing or telling them that they have these qualities. There is also a suggestion of good health - at least anyone with the vigor of a dragon horse, would seem to also be in good health.
龍蛇虎豹鶴 is a list of the Chinese characters for the five animals of Shaolin Kung Fu in a comfortable order (meaning that they are in the proper order and will simply "feel right" to a Chinese person who views this arrangement).
龍虎精神 means the spirit of the dragon and tiger. It speaks to the vitality and vigor that is the nature of these two creatures.
Beyond "spirit," the second two characters can also mean mind, soul, or heart. Therefore, you can also say this means "Heart of the Dragon and Tiger," etc.
龍虎精神 is often titled as "Ryukoseishin" in many Japanese martial arts.
猛虎 means "fierce tiger" or "ferocious tiger" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
飛虎 is the short, or rather, Korean title of the "Flying Tigers." This short title is not very often used in China but is a title used in Korea. At the time the Flying Tigers volunteers were in China, Korea was also occupied by Japanese forces. Because many Korean civilians were enslaved and killed at the hands of the Japanese soldiers, any group that fought against the Japanese at that time was held in high-esteem by Korean people.
Note: I suggest the other 3-character entry since this group was so strongly related with China.
飛虎 is also used as an adjective in Korean to describe a courageous person (or tiger).
飛虎隊 is the full title of the "Flying Tigers Group." These were the American pilots that volunteered to go to China and fight the Japanese prior to the entry of the USA into World War Two. These fighter pilots were so esteemed in China, that fallen American pilots could always find refuge in villages, and safe passage and escape to areas of China that were not occupied by Japan at that time. Chinese villagers helped such fallen pilots with full knowledge that when the Japanese occupation forces found out, all the men, women, and children in the village would be massacred by Japanese troops (there are more than a few known cases of such massacres).
The Flying Tigers successfully kept supply lines to the Chinese resistance open, and divided Japanese forces at a crucial time while America prepared to officially join WWII.
A wall scroll like this honors the men who risked or gave their lives as noble volunteers, and is a reminder of the best moment in the history of Sino-American relations.
These three characters literally mean "flying tiger(s) group/team/squad."
Note: Hanging these characters on your wall will not make you any friends with Japanese people who are aware or this history (most Japanese have no idea, as Japan's involvement in WWII has all but been erased from school textbooks in Japan).
While perhaps no longer politically correct, this Chinese proverb is a reminder that you must take risks if you want reward.
不入虎穴焉得虎子 is similar to the English proverb, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
The literal word order of the Chinese is, "If (you) don't enter the tiger's lair/cave, how can (you) get/obtain tiger cubs?."
虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず is the Japanese version of an ancient Chinese proverb. 虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず is a reminder that you must take risks if you want reward.
虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず is similar to the English proverb, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
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...
三人成虎 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.
白虎 is the title "White Tiger" in Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean Hanja.
In Chinese folklore, the White Tiger rules or represents the seven mansions (constellations) of the west sky. However, in modern Chinese, a "white tiger" is also slang for hairless female genitalia (be careful about this, as Chinese men might secretly laugh or snicker when they see your white tiger wall scroll).
In Japanese folklore, the White Tiger is a god said to rule over the western heavens. They also know of the Chinese seven mansions of the western heavens. In Japanese, this can also be the given name Byakko.
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.
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Tiger||虎||tora||hǔ / hu3 / hu|
|Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon||臥虎藏龍|
|wò hǔ cáng lóng
wo4 hu3 cang2 long2
wo hu cang long
|wo hu ts`ang lung
wo hu tsang lung
|Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger||藏龍臥虎|
|cáng lóng wò hǔ
cang2 long2 wo4 hu3
cang long wo hu
|ts`ang lung wo hu
tsang lung wo hu
|The Spirit of the Dragon Horse, the Power of a Tiger.||龍馬精神虎虎生威|
|lóng mǎ jīng shén hǔ hǔ shēng wēi
long2 ma3 jing1 shen2 hu3 hu3 sheng1 wei1
long ma jing shen hu hu sheng wei
|lung ma ching shen hu hu sheng wei|
|Dragon Snake Tiger
|ryuu hebi tora hyou tsuru|
ryu hebi tora hyo tsuru
|lóng shé hǔ bào hè
long2 she2 hu3 bao4 he4
long she hu bao he
|lung she hu pao ho
|The Spirit of Dragon and Tiger||龍虎精神|
|ryu ko sei shin|
|lóng hǔ jīng shén
long2 hu3 jing1 shen2
long hu jing shen
|lung hu ching shen
|Fierce Tiger||猛虎||mou ko / mouko / mo ko / moko||měng hǔ / meng3 hu3 / meng hu / menghu|
|fēi hǔ / fei1 hu3 / fei hu / feihu|
|Flying Tigers AVG||飛虎隊|
|fēi hǔ duì
fei1 hu3 dui4
fei hu dui
|fei hu tui
|How can you catch tiger cubs
without entering the lair of the tiger?
|不入虎穴焉得虎子||bú rù hǔ xué yān dé hǔ zǐ
bu2 ru4 hu3 xue2 yan1 de2 hu3 zi3
bu ru hu xue yan de hu zi
|pu ju hu hsüeh yen te hu tzu
|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.
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.