We have many options to create artwork with the Chinese characters / Asian symbols / Japanese Kanji for Light on a wall scroll or portrait.
If you want to create a cool Light Asian character tattoo, you can purchase that on our Chinese and Japanese Tattoo Image Service page and we'll help you select from many forms of ancient Asian symbols that express the idea of Light.
This Chinese proverb literally means: [If one not does] not make comparisons, [one will] not know [the truth] when [one] compares, [one will be] greatly surprised.
This goes to the idea that if you do not know bad times, you cannot know what good times are.
You can not know light without experiencing darkness.
Another way to translate this would be: If you wish to be enlightened, you need to make comparisons and analyze every aspect (of a situation, issue or problem).
Rabindranath Tagore, 1915
This is a philosophical poem/quote from Indian Poet and Philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore.
This quote is not sourced, and therefore several variations exist in English. Some suggest the original was in the Bengali language.
This, of course, is the Chinese translation which has the meaning of, "Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark."
光明 is a nice way to say "light" in Chinese, and old Korean Hanja. 光明 is because the word also suggests a bright future or refers so someone who is very promising (great future potential).
The first character means light or bright.
The second character means bright and clear (in this context).
光明 appears in most Japanese dictionaries but it not the most common Japanese Kanji word for light (more commonly used for the name Mitsuharu).
In old Korean Hanja, this can have a meaning of brightness or brilliancy.
In the context of Buddhism, this means, "Light emanating from a Buddha or Bodhisattva, symbolizing their wisdom and compassion"
光 is the simplest way to express "light" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. It can also mean ray or bright. Chinese tend to use a two-character word for light/bright, so this character is probably best if your audience is Japanese. Also, when pronounced Rei, this can be a Japanese female given name.
月光 is the Chinese, old Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji title for moonlight.
This can also be used to describe a moonbeam, and can be a given name all three languages (pronounced as Rumi when used as a female given name in Japanese).
光芒 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja for radiance meaning rays of light, brilliant rays, beams of light, etc.
光芒 is the radiance you feel when the sun hits your face in the morning, bringing you warmth while kickstarting your vitamin D production.
This Japanese proverb means, "Bright Future." It suggests a lot of possibility and potential awaits in your future. A great gift for a graduate.
The first part of this proverb literally means bright or light. The second part means future but can also be translated as, "the world to come."
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
清 means clarity or clear in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. Looking at the parts of this character, you have three splashes of water on the left, "life" on the top right, and the moon on the lower right.
Because of something Confucius said about 2500 years ago, you can imagine that this character means "live life with clarity like bright moonlight piercing pure water." The Confucian idea is something like "Keep clear what is pure in yourself, and let your pure nature show through." Kind of like saying, "Don't pollute your mind or body, so that they remain clear."
This might be stretching the definition of this single Chinese character but the elements are there, and "clarity" is a powerful idea.
Korean note: Korean pronunciation is given above but this character is written with a slight difference in the "moon radical" in Korean. However, anyone who can read Korean Hanja, will understand this character with no problem (this is considered an alternate form in Korean). If you want the more standard Korean Hanja form (which is an alternate form in Chinese), just let me know.
Japanese note: When reading in Japanese, this Kanji has additional meanings of pure, purify, or cleanse (sometimes to remove demons or "exorcise"). Used more in compound words in Japanese than as a stand-alone Kanji.
狂 is a single character that means "crazy" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. 狂 means crazy, unrestrained, lunatic, insane, confused, deranged, wild, or mad.
This can also refer to an extreme enthusiast (like a football fan). But then, it can also refer to a person possessing a mental abnormality.
In some context, this can mean conceited (it probably won't be read that way on a wall scroll).
A warning: 狂 is an odd selection for a wall scroll. You should only order this if you plan to bewilder or confuse those who see it. It kind of says something about you, something that most native Asian people will not view in a good light.
道 is the character "dao" which is sometimes written as "tao" but pronounced like "dow" in Mandarin.
道 is the base of what is known as "Taoism." If you translate this literally, it can mean "the way" or "the path."
Dao is believed to be that which flows through all things, and keeps them in balance. It incorporates the ideas of yin and yang (e.g. there would be no love without hate, no light without dark, no male without female.)
The beginning of Taoism can be traced to a mystical man named
Lao Zi (604-531 BC), who followed, and added to the teachings of Confucius.
More about Taoism / Daoism here.
Note that this is pronounced "dou" and sometimes "michi" when written alone in Japanese but pronounced "do" in word compounds such as Karate-do and Bushido. It's also "do" in Korean.
Alternate translations and meanings: road, way, path; truth, principle province.
Important Japanese note: In Japanese, this will generally be read with the road, way, or path meaning. Taoism is not as popular or well-known in Japan, so that Daoist/Taoist philosophy is not the first thing a Japanese person will think of then they read this character.
See our Taoism Page
This Chinese proverb means, "Bore a hole on the wall to make use of the neighbor's light to study."
鑿壁偷光 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.
鵬程萬里 is an ancient Chinese proverb used in modern times to wish someone a long and successful career.
It's really about the 10,000 Flight of the Peng (Peng, also known as Roc is a mythical fish that can turn into a bird and take flight).
庄子 - Zhuangzi
Breaking down each character:
1. Peng or Roc (a kind of bird).
2. Journey (in this case, a flight).
3. 10,000 (Ten Thousand).
4. Li is a unit of distance often referred to as a "Chinese Mile," though the real distance is about half a kilometer.
Direct Translation: "Peng's Journey [of] 10,000 Li."
Literal meaning: "The 10,000-Li Flying Range Of The Roc."
Perceived meaning: "To have a bright future" or "To go far."
This proverb/idiom comes from the book of Zhuangzi. It tells the tale of a huge fish which could turn into a gigantic bird. This bird was called "peng" and was many miles long. This legendary size allowed the Peng to fly from the Northern Sea to the Southern Sea in a single bound.
Wishing someone "a Peng's Journey of 10,000 Li," will imply that they will be able to travel far without stopping, and will have great success, a long career, and a prosperous future.
This literally means "Flower Willow World/Kingdom." In Japanese, this means "The Realm of the Geisha" or "World of the Geisha." I suppose there is a presumption that the Geisha are surrounded by flowers in their residence. In Chinese and Korean, this pretty much has colloquially come to mean "The Red Light District" or to refer to pimps, prostitutes and johns as a group.
真主 is how Chinese Muslims refer to God (it literally means "True Master").
Oddly, in China, two different names for God have emerged. Even though Muslims, Christians, and Jews all worship the same God of Abraham.
In Arabic, the word Allah is just the Arabic way to say, God. Arab Christians pray to Allah, just like Arab Muslims. Somehow in China, the title of God diverged.
If you are curious, there are millions of Muslims throughout China but especially in the northwest portion of China known as Xinjiang. Here you will find descendants of Turkmen, Persian, Arab, and other ethnicities. Some are mixed with Han-Chinese blood; others appear to be pure Turkmen. Many have fair complexions, green eyes, and light hair but all are citizens of China. A visit to Xinjiang will shift your paradigm and blow away all of your stereotypes about what it means to be Chinese.
囍 is a common gift for Chinese couples getting married or newly married couples.
As we say in the west, "Two heads are better than one" Well, in the east, two "happinesses" are certainly better than one.
Some will suggest this is a symbol of two happinesses coming together. Others see it as a multiplication of happiness because of the union or marriage.
囍 is not really a character that is pronounced very often - it's almost exclusively used in written form. However, if pressed, most Chinese people will pronounce this "shuang xi" (double happy) although literally there are two "xi" characters combined in this calligraphy (but nobody will say "xi xi").
If you select this character, I strongly suggest the festive bright red paper for your calligraphy. Part of my suggestion comes from the fact that red is a good luck color in China, and this will add to the sentiment that you wish to convey with this scroll to the happy couple.
See Also: Happiness
This Kanji often represents a Japanese name romanized as Hikari.
The literal meaning can be the sunshine, light, or to shine upon. It has the same meaning in Chinese and Korean. From ancient Chinese, it is a variant of 輝/辉.
Other Japanese romanizations include Hikaru, Hikatsu, Teru, Terasu, Ki, and Akira.
Jyorei or Johrei is a healing art that uses divine light to dissolve the spiritual impurities that are the source of all physical, emotional, and personal problems.
浄霊 / 浄靈 is a Japanese title that can refer to the purification of spirit described above, but this is also the word for exorcism in Japanese.
Romanization variations include Jyorei, Johrei, Jourei and Jore. Regardless of romanization, the actual pronunciation is like "Joe Ray."
光道館 is Kodokan. 光道館 is the title of an Aikido dojo, studio, or hall.
Be careful in selecting the correct Kodokan, as there are two different titles that romanize as Kodokan.
Here's how the characters break down in meaning for this one:
1. Light / Bright
2. Way / Path (the Tao/Dao as in Taoism/Daoism)
3. Schoolroom / Building / Establishment / Mansion / Hall (of learning)
Altogether, you get something like, "The Path of Light Establishment."
This Chinese character, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja means lamp, light, or lantern.
This can also be the Japanese female given name Hikaru.
In Buddhist context, this is used to express the Sanskrit word, dīpa (same meaning of a lamp or lantern).
This can be translated as "martial arts skills," "warrior skills," or "military skills" depending on usage. In both Japanese and Chinese, rather than meaning martial arts, this speaks more to the skills that you posses in regards to martial arts. This phrase also has a light suggestion of "having an itch to show off these skills."
This is the last line of a famous poem. It is perceived as a tribute or ode to your parent's or mother from a child or children that have left home.
The poem was written by Meng Jiao during the Tang Dynasty (about 1200 years ago). The Chinese title is "You Zi Yin" which means "The Traveler's Recite."
The last line as shown here speaks of the generous and warm spring sun light which gives the grass far beyond what the little grass can could ever give back (except perhaps by showing its lovely green leaves and flourishing). The metaphor is that the sun is your mother or parents, and you are the grass. Your parents raise you and give you all the love and care you need to prepare you for the world. A debt which you can never repay, nor is repayment expected.
The first part of the poem (not written in the characters to the left) suggests that the thread in a loving mother's hands is the shirt of her traveling offspring. Vigorously sewing while wishing them to come back sooner than they left.
...This part is really hard to translate into English that makes any sense but maybe you get the idea. We are talking about a poem that is so old that many Chinese people would have trouble reading it (as if it was the King James Version of Chinese).
紫 is the single-character Chinese, Japanese and old Korean title for the color violet / purple. The difference between violet and purple is not really distinguished in Asian languages. However, sometimes a character for "light" is added to the front of this one, which might be closer to the meaning of violet.
大光明 is the master symbol "Daikomyo," which is usually associated with the healing practice of Reiki.
This title can be translated as "Great Bright Light." This symbol, as used in Reiki, alludes to "Enlightened Nature" or the radiance of a purified soul or deity.
Pronunciations in Chinese and Korean are included above but this title has no meaning except when used by a Reiki practitioner. In fact, this title is not that well known by those outside the Reiki community in Japan.
In Chinese, this would be interpreted as "Great Bright Future" (the second two characters alone create a word that means "bright future" in Chinese).
This is "shiken haramitsu daikōmyō," a famous Japanese Buddhist mantra.
四拳 = shi-ken = four fist (many translate this as "four hearts").
波羅蜜 = ha-ra-mitsu = A loanword representing pāramitā, or entrance into Nirvana. Awkwardly, it also means jackfruit.
大光明 = dai-kou-myo = big/great light bright (great bright light).
Shiken represents four hearts:
1. The Merciful Heart - Love and caring for all living things.
2. The Sincere Heart - Pursues righteousness, or the right path - sincerely trying to do what is right.
3. The Attuned Heart - Knows that nature and fate have their ways, and thus stays in tune with the universe.
4. The Dedicated Heart - Steadfast on the chosen path to the end.
This Japanese proverb means, "time flies like an arrow." It's very similar to the English idiom, "time and tide wait for no man," or "life is short."
The Kanji breakdown:
光陰 = Time (the cycle of light and dark).
矢 = Arrow
の = are
如し = Alike
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
財富 means wealth or riches in Chinese.
Hanging this on your wall will label you as a "lover of money" or a "greedy person." Order this, only if you don't mind being seen in this light.
This would be the ultimate Chinese "welcome mat." Except it will be on your wall, and people will not step on it.
In a somewhat literal translation, you could say it means, "I feel happiness as I welcome you, as you have brought a shining light to this place with your arrival" or in a more simple way, "I am happy you've come as your presents really brightens up the place."
It has become common for this greeting to be announced by the staff upon the arrival of any customer in to a fancy store in China. You will also see these characters on the "welcome mats" in front of 4 and 5 star hotels in China.
Having this on a wall scroll is an extra nice touch. I have seen a few horizontal scrolls with this phrase on the wall behind the reception desk of better hotels, or near the front door of fine shops. At the most fancy department stores and restaurants in China, several greeters (almost always young women) will stand by the front door all wearing sashes with this phrase embroidered on them. As you walk in, they will bow and say "huan ying guang lin" to welcome you to the establishment.
Note: The first two and last two characters do make words in Korean Hanja but seldom used as a sentence like this in Korean.
A lot of people search our website for "white." I am not sure the purpose, unless your family name is white.
白 is the universal character for white in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
In certain context, outside of the white definition, it can mean snowy, empty, blank, bright, clear, plain, pure, innocence or gratuitous. In Korean, this can be a family name romanized as Paek or Baeg.
This literally translates as: Without having experienced the cold of winter, one cannot appreciate the warmth of spring.
Figuratively, this means: One cannot truly appreciate happiness without having gone through hardship.
There are many contrasts in life. One simply cannot fully know what joy is without having experienced misery, difficulty, and pain. How could you explain "light" if you did not have "darkness" to compare it to?
Embrace hardship, as it makes the good times seem even better.
禪宗 is one way to title "Zen Buddhism." Because the original pronunciation of Zen in Chinese is Chan, you'll also see this expressed as Chan Buddhism.
From the Buddhist Dictionary:
The Chan, meditative or intuitional, sect usually said to have been established in China by Bodhidharma, the twenty-eighth patriarch, who brought the tradition of the Buddha-mind from India. This sect, believing in direct enlightenment, disregarded ritual and sūtras and depended upon the inner light and personal influence for the propagation of its tenets, founding itself on the esoteric tradition supposed to have been imparted to Kāśyapa by the Buddha, who indicated his meaning by plucking a flower without further explanation. Kāśyapa smiled in apprehension and is supposed to have passed on this mystic method to the patriarchs. The successor of Bodhidharma was 慧可 Huike, and he was succeeded by 僧璨 Sengcan; 道信 Daoxin; 弘忍 Hongren; 慧能 Huineng, and 神秀 Shenxiu, the sect dividing under the two latter into the southern and northern schools: the southern school became prominent, producing 南嶽 Nanyue and 靑原 Qingyuan, the former succeeded by 馬祖 Mazu, the latter by 石頭 Shitou. From Mazu's school arose the five later schools.
日蓮 is the title Nichiren.
This title refers to a Buddhist priest, who lived from 1222 to 1282. He is the founder of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism.
According to historical documents, the Nichiren sect was established in 1252. Adding the character for sect, this would be 日蓮宗 (Nichiren sect), which is also known as the 法華宗 or Lotus sect.
According to Soothill-Hodous...
Nichiren's chief tenets are the three great mysteries 三大祕法, representing the trikāya:
1. 本尊 or chief object of worship, being the great maṇḍala of the worlds of the ten directions, or universe, i.e. the body or nirmāṇakāya of Buddha.
2. 題目 the title of the Lotus Sutra 妙法蓮華經 Myo-ho-ren-ge-kyo, preceded by Namo, or, "Adoration to the scripture of the lotus of the wonderful law," for it is Buddha's spiritual body.
3. 戒壇 the altar of the law, which is also the title of the Lotus as above; the believer, wherever he is, dwells in the Pure-land of calm light 寂光淨土, the saṃbhogakāya.
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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|
|Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment||不比不知道一比嚇一跳|
|bù bǐ bù zhī dào yī bǐ xià yì tiào|
bu4 bi3 bu4 zhi1 dao4 yi1 bi3 xia4 yi4 tiao4
bu bi bu zhi dao yi bi xia yi tiao
|pu pi pu chih tao i pi hsia i t`iao
pu pi pu chih tao i pi hsia i tiao
|Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark||信唸是在黎明前的黑闇中能感到光明的鳥|
|xìn niǎn shì zài lí míng qián de hēi àn zhōng néng gǎn dào guāng míng de niǎo|
xin4 nian3 shi4 zai4 li2 ming2 qian2 de hei1 an4 zhong1 neng2 gan3 dao4 guang1 ming2 de niao3
xin nian shi zai li ming qian de hei an zhong neng gan dao guang ming de niao
|hsin nien shih tsai li ming ch`ien te hei an chung neng kan tao kuang ming te niao
hsin nien shih tsai li ming chien te hei an chung neng kan tao kuang ming te niao
|shin tou / shintou / shin to / shinto||xīn dēng / xin1 deng1 / xin deng / xindeng||hsin teng / hsinteng|
|一道神光||ichidou no shinkou|
ichido no shinko
|yī dào shén guāng|
yi1 dao4 shen2 guang1
yi dao shen guang
|i tao shen kuang
Bright and Promising Future
|光明||kou mei / mitsu haru|
koumei / mitsuharu
ko mei / mitsu haru
|光||hikari||guāng / guang1 / guang||kuang|
|Moonlight||月光||gekkou / geko||yuè guāng|
Rays of Light
|光芒||koubou / kobo||guāng máng|
|Bright and Promising Future||明るい未来||akarui mirai|
|The Aura of Buddha||佛光||bukkou / buko||fó guāng / fo2 guang1 / fo guang / foguang||fo kuang / fokuang|
|kan gi kou butsu|
kan gi ko butsu
|huān xǐ guāng fó|
huan1 xi3 guang1 fo2
huan xi guang fo
|huan hsi kuang fo
|Clarity||清||sei||qīng / qing1 / qing||ch`ing / ching|
|kyou / kyo||kuáng / kuang2 / kuang||k`uang / kuang|
|道||michi / -do||dào / dao4 / dao||tao|
|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
|A Bright Future||鵬程萬里|
|péng chéng wàn lǐ|
peng2 cheng2 wan4 li3
peng cheng wan li
|p`eng ch`eng wan li
peng cheng wan li
|The Geisha’s World||花柳界||karyuukai / karyukai||huā liǔ jiè|
hua1 liu3 jie4
hua liu jie
|hua liu chieh
God of Islam
|真主||zhēn zhǔ / zhen1 zhu3 / zhen zhu / zhenzhu||chen chu / chenchu|
|xǐ / xi3 / xi||hsi|
|hikari||huī / hui1 / hui|
|浄霊 / 浄靈|
浄霊 / 浄灵
|jourei / jorei|
|kou dou kan|
ko do kan
|tou / to||dēng / deng1 / deng||teng|
|Martial Arts Skills||武技||bugi||wǔ jì / wu3 ji4 / wu ji / wuji||wu chi / wuchi|
|Appreciation and Love for Your Parents||誰言寸草心報得三春暉|
|shuí yán cùn cǎo xīn bào dé sān chūn huī|
shui2 yan2 cun4 cao3 xin1 bao4 de2 san1 chun1 hui1
shui yan cun cao xin bao de san chun hui
|shui yen ts`un ts`ao hsin pao te san ch`un hui
shui yen tsun tsao hsin pao te san chun hui
|紫||murasaki||zǐ / zi3 / zi||tzu|
|Reiki - Master Symbol||大光明||dai kou myou|
dai ko myo
|dà guāng míng|
da4 guang1 ming2
da guang ming
|ta kuang ming
|hóng bǎo shí|
hong2 bao3 shi2
hong bao shi
|hung pao shih
|sen kou / senkou / sen ko / senko||xiān hóng|
|Shiken Haramitsu Daikomyo||四拳波羅蜜大光明||shi ken ha ra mitsu dai kou myou|
shi ken ha ra mitsu dai ko myo
Clear and Bright
|晴朗||seirou / sero|
seiro / sero
|Time and Tide Wait for No Man||光陰矢の如し|
|kouinya no goto shi|
koinya no goto shi
|cái fù / cai2 fu4 / cai fu / caifu||ts`ai fu / tsaifu / tsai fu|
|A Traditional Warm Welcome||歡迎光臨|
|huān yíng guāng lín|
huan1 ying2 guang1 lin2
huan ying guang lin
|huan ying kuang lin
|White||白||shiro||bái / bai2 / bai||pai|
|bái lóng / bai2 long2 / bai long / bailong||pai lung / pailung|
|You must endure a harsh winter|
to appreciate the warmth of springtime
|bù jīng dōng hán bù zhī chūn nuǎn|
bu4 jing1 dong1 han2 bu4 zhi1 chun1 nuan3
bu jing dong han bu zhi chun nuan
|pu ching tung han pu chih ch`un nuan
pu ching tung han pu chih chun nuan
Soul of a Wolf
|狼魂||routama / ookami tamashii |
routama / ookamitamashii
rotama / okami tamashi
|láng hún / lang2 hun2 / lang hun / langhun|
|Zen shuu / Zenshuu / Zen shu / Zenshu||chán zōng|
|nichi ren / nichiren||rì lián / ri4 lian2 / ri lian / rilian||jih lien / jihlien|
|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.