Water Chinese / Japanese Calligraphy Wall Scrolls

You can choose from many options to create your custom artwork with the Chinese character / Asian symbol / Japanese Kanji for water on a wall scroll or portrait.
Start by clicking on the button next to your favorite water title below...

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Water
  2. Be Like Water
  3. Water Dragon / Coiled Dragon
  4. Drinking the water of a well,...
  5. Fire and Water Have No Mercy
  6. Put out a burning wood cart...
  7. Ultimate Goodness of Water
  8. Mind Like Water
  9. Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also
10. Water Dragon / Rain Dragon
11. Be Like Water
12. Water Tiger
13. Rain
14. Feng Shui
15. Five Elements
16. Large River
17. River
18. Warriors Adapt and Overcome


Water

(One of the five elements)
China shuǐ
Japan mizu
Water Wall Scroll

水 is the symbol for water in Japanese and Chinese.


Water is one of the five elements that ancient Chinese believed all things were composed of. These elements are also part of the cycle of Chinese astrology. Every person has both an animal sign, and one of the five elements according to the date of their birth. See also Five Elements and Chinese 12 Animals / Zodiac.

Be Like Water

China xiàng shuǐ yí yàng
Be Like Water Wall Scroll

象水一樣 is a short quote from a much longer statement by Bruce Lee.

He was summarizing how people should be flexible to all circumstances, attacks, or situations. At the end, he exclaims, "Be like water my friend." 象水一樣 is the, "Be like water" part alone, since that seems to be what most people want.

Water Dragon / Coiled Dragon

China pān lóng
Japan han ryuu
Water Dragon / Coiled Dragon Wall Scroll

蟠龍 is sometimes seen as a lower level of dragon, or a dragon that has not-yet-reached its potential.

蟠龍 is often defined as a "lake dragon" that has not ascended to heaven.
Another way to put that is a dragon coiled on the earth, which has not yet ascended to the sky.

Drinking the water of a well,
one should never forget who dug it

China chī shuǐ bú wàng jué jǐng rén
Drinking the water of a well, / one should never forget who dug it Wall Scroll

This proverb suggests that one should always be grateful to those who helped you succeed.

And remember your ancestors and those that came before you whose sacrifices made your present life better.

Some Chinese will separate the intended meaning from this proverb and translate this as "Don't forget the people who once helped you." In Modern China, this idiom is virtually never used to refer to an actual well.

Note: This can be pronounced in Korean but it's not a commonly used phrase.

Fire and Water Have No Mercy

China shuǐ huǒ wú qíng
Fire and Water Have No Mercy Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb means, "fire [and] water have-not mercy." This serves to remind us that the forces of nature are beyond human control.

Some may also translation this as, "implacable fate."

Put out a burning wood cart
with a cup of water

An utterly inadequate measure
China bēi shuǐ chē xīn
Put out a burning wood cart / with a cup of water Wall Scroll

杯水車薪 is a warning against a futile effort. This proverb literally refers to one who is "trying to put out a burning cart of wood with a cup of water," or "throw a cup of water on a cartload of wood." The lesson to be learned is about using the right measure or tool for the job, and not to waste your effort if you are inadequately equipped for the task at hand - in other words the postscript should be "go get a bucket or a fire hose."

Ultimate Goodness of Water

Quote from Lao Tzu
China shàng shàn ruò shuǐ
Ultimate Goodness of Water Wall Scroll

This quote is sometimes presented as, "Be like water." However, this is an ancient quote from the great philosopher Lao Tzu. It basically suggests that the ultimate goodness and purity (in the world) is water. Many take this as a suggestion to be like pure/good water.

Mind Like Water

Mizu No Kokoro
Japan mizu no kokoro
Mind Like Water Wall Scroll

水の心 is the Japanese Buddhist and martial arts phrase, "mizu no kokoro," which means, "mind like water" or "heart of water."

The phrase is a metaphor describing the pond that clearly reflects it’s surroundings when calm but whose images are obscured once a pebble is dropped into its waters.

Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also

China shuǐ néng zài zhōu yì néng fù zhōu
Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also Wall Scroll

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.

Water Dragon / Rain Dragon

China jiāo
Japan kou ryuu
Water Dragon / Rain Dragon Wall Scroll

This title for water dragon is the hornless or scaled dragon. This is the king of all aquatic animals with the ability to control rain and floods.

In Japanese, the rain dragon can represent hidden genius. This dragon's domain is the deep murky water, thus with hidden potential. This can also be the Japanese given name Kouryuu.

Be Like Water

Quote from Lao Tzu
China ruò shuǐ
Be Like Water Wall Scroll

若水 is part of a very old saying from Lao Tzu. It these two characters, there is a suggestion to be like water. The full phrase is about the goodness and purity of water. So, when this suggests being like water, it is actually a suggestion to be a good person (one who does not dishonor himself/herself etc).

Water Tiger

China shuǐ hǔ
Japan sui ko
Water Tiger Wall Scroll

水虎 means "water tiger" in Chinese and Japanese.

Rain

China
Japan ame
Rain Wall Scroll

雨 is how to write "rain" in Chinese. If rain is your name or has some significance to you in your life, this is the character you want.

If your name is Varṣā or Varsha, this is how you name translates into Chinese.


See Also:  Storm | Wave

Feng Shui

China fēng shuǐ
Japan fuu sui
Feng Shui Wall Scroll

風水 is the famous technique and approach to arranging your home externally around natural features, and internally to create balance and peace.

These two characters literally mean "wind water." Obviously, the title is far more simple than the concept behind this subject.

It may enlighten you slightly to know that the character for "wind" can also mean "style," "custom" or "manner" in some context. This may apply somewhat to this title.

In a very technical sense, this title is translated as "Chinese geomancy."

Five Elements

China wǔ xíng
Japan gogyou
Five Elements Wall Scroll

五行 is the title of the five elements which are: wood, fire, water, earth, and metal.

The first character means "5" and the second character is simply "elements."

According to ancient Chinese science, all matter in the world is made up of these elements. One idea presented with the five elements is that when energy is added, matter is believed to expand. When energy is removed, matter contracts. Oddly, this concept is not far from Einstein's theories, and modern science. Just a few thousand years before Einstein.


More info: Wikipedia - Five Elements (Wu Xing).


See Also:  Wood | Fire | Earth | Metal | Five Elements

Five Elements

China jīn mù shuǐ huǒ tǔ
Five Elements Wall Scroll

金木水火土 is a list of the Chinese characters for the five elements in a comfortable order (meaning that they simply "feel right" to a Chinese person who views this arrangement).

The order is metal, wood, water, fire, earth.

Note that sometimes the metal element is translated as gold. And earth refers to soil versus the whole planet earth.

Five Elements

Japan chi sui ka fuu kuu
Five Elements Wall Scroll

地水火風空 is the specifically-Japanese version of the five elements. 地水火風空 is a little different than the ancient or original Chinese version.

The elements are written in this order:
1. Earth / Terra / Ground
2. Water
3. Fire
4. Wind / Air
5. Sky / Emptiness / Void / Ether

Note: This set of Kanji can also be romanized as "ji sui ka fuu kuu," "jisuikafuukuu," or "jisuikafuku."


These can also be written in the order 地火風水空 (chi ka sui fuu kuu). Let me know when you place your order if you want the Kanji to be in this character order.

Large River

China jiāng
Japan kou
Large River Wall Scroll

江 means large river in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. This generally refers to a river big enough that it's navigable by cargo boats, passenger boats, or small ships.

In Japanese, this can be a surname when pronounced as Minkou or just Kou.

River

China chuān
Japan kawa
River Wall Scroll

川 means river or stream in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

In Japanese, this can be a surname when pronounced as Sakigawa.

Warriors Adapt and Overcome

Soldiers need a fluid plan
China bīng wú cháng shì shuǐ wú cháng xíng
Warriors Adapt and Overcome Wall Scroll

This literally translates as: Troops/soldiers/warriors have no fixed [battlefield] strategy [just as] water has no constant shape [but adapts itself to whatever container it is in].

Figuratively, this means: One should seek to find whatever strategy or method is best suited to resolving each individual problem.

This proverb is about as close as you can get to the military idea of "adapt improvise overcome." This is best way to express that idea in both an ancient way, and a very natural way in Chinese.




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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
Water mizushuǐ / shui3 / shui
Be Like Water 象水一樣
象水一样
xiàng shuǐ yí yàng
xiang4 shui3 yi2 yang4
xiang shui yi yang
xiangshuiyiyang
hsiang shui i yang
hsiangshuiiyang
Water Dragon
Coiled Dragon
蟠龍
蟠龙
han ryuu / hanryuu / han ryu / hanryupān lóng / pan1 long2 / pan long / panlong p`an lung / panlung / pan lung
Drinking the water of a well, one should never forget who dug it 吃水不忘掘井人chī shuǐ bú wàng jué jǐng rén
chi1 shui3 bu2 wang4 jue2 jing3 ren2
chi shui bu wang jue jing ren
chishuibuwangjuejingren
ch`ih shui pu wang chüeh ching jen
chih shui pu wang chüeh ching jen
Fire and Water Have No Mercy 水火無情
水火无情
shuǐ huǒ wú qíng
shui3 huo3 wu2 qing2
shui huo wu qing
shuihuowuqing
shui huo wu ch`ing
shuihuowuching
shui huo wu ching
Put out a burning wood cart
with a cup of water
杯水車薪
杯水车薪
bēi shuǐ chē xīn
bei1 shui3 che1 xin1
bei shui che xin
beishuichexin
pei shui ch`e hsin
peishuichehsin
pei shui che hsin
Ultimate Goodness of Water 上善若水shàng shàn ruò shuǐ
shang4 shan4 ruo4 shui3
shang shan ruo shui
shangshanruoshui
shang shan jo shui
shangshanjoshui
Mind Like Water 水の心mizu no kokoro
mizunokokoro
Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also 水能載舟亦能覆舟
水能载舟亦能覆舟
shuǐ néng zài zhōu yì néng fù zhōu
shui3 neng2 zai4 zhou1 yi4 neng2 fu4 zhou1
shui neng zai zhou yi neng fu zhou
shui neng tsai chou i neng fu chou
Water Dragon
Rain Dragon
蛟龍
蛟龙
kou ryuu / kouryuu / ko ryu / koryujiāo
jiao1 long2
jiao long
jiaolong
chiao lung
chiaolung
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.


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.