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4. Bruce Lee
6. Jeet Kune Do
9. Lee / Plum
10. Little Dragon
Many people have no idea that Bruce Lee had a "real" Chinese name. In mainland China and Hong Kong he is known as "Li Xiao-Long." He kept his family name pronunciation (Li = Lee). 李小龍 is a common family name that also means "plum."
His given name "Xiao-Long" literally means "little dragon." 李小龍 is why you often see the character for dragon associated with Bruce Lee on various posters etc.
For a pronunciation lesson, the "X" in Romanized Chinese is pronounced like a "sh" sound but with your tongue at the bottom of your mouth. The vowel sound in "Long" is like the English "oh," not like the "ah" sound in the English word "long."
If you are a big Bruce Lee fan, you should know this information, and you should have this wall scroll hanging in your room or martial arts studio.
Note: Japanese use these same exact Chinese characters / Kanji to write Bruce Lee's real name (with different pronunciation - which is a bit like how the name "Bruce Lee" sounds in English).
In Cantonese, this is Jeet Kune Do. Often it is explained as the "Way of the Intercepting Fist." 截拳道 is a martial art style founded by Bruce Lee.
The first character means to cut-off or sever.
The second character is fist.
The last character means way or method.
See Also: Bruce Lee
One of the most famous types of martial arts in the world - and not just because of Bruce Lee.
Some translate the meaning as "Accomplishment by Great Effort." I think this is partially true but directly translated it literally means "Merit/Achievement/Accomplishment Man." The word "fu" can sometimes mean "husband" or "porter" but in this case, it can only mean "man." However, few in China will think "man" when they hear the word "Gong Fu" spoken.
This term is also used for things other than martial arts. In fact, it's used to refer to a person with excellent skills in crafts that require a great deal of effort such as cooking, tea ceremonies, and calligraphy.
What a lot of people don't know is that the spelling of "Kung Fu" was actually taken from the old Wade Giles form of Romanization. Using this method, the sounds of the English "G" and "K" were both written as "K" and an apostrophe after the "K" told you it was supposed to sound like a "G." Nobody in the west knew this rule, so most people pronounce it with a "K-sound." And so Gong Fu will always be Kung Fu for most westerners.
Also, just to educate you a little more, the "O" in "Gong" has a sound like the English word "oh."
The popular Chinese dish "Kung Pao Chicken" suffers from the same problem. It should actually be "Gong Bao Chicken."
Historical note: Many will claim that Kung Fu was invented by the monks of the Shaolin monastery. This fact is argued in both directions by scholars of Chinese history. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that the Shaolin Monks brought the original fame to Kung Fu many generations ago.
Japanese note: While most Japanese martial artists will recognize these characters, Katakana is more often used to approximate the pronunciation of "Kung Fu" with "カンフー." Some will argue as to whether this should be considered a Japanese word at all.
See Also: Bruce Lee
麗 is the most common transliteration to Mandarin Chinese for the feminine western name Lee.
麗 means "pretty" or "beautiful."
Note: This can sometimes be used as a female given name in China. It is not the only given name that sounds like Lee or Li in China. For instance, this is a completely different character than the one used for Bruce Lee's name.
李 is the most common Chinese character which sounds like "Lee" or "Li" and is used as a surname / family name in China.
李 actually means "Plum." So it's really Mr. Plum and Mrs. Plum if you translated the name instead of romanizing.
李 is not the only character in Chinese that can be romanized as "Lee" or "Li." If your family name is "Lee" or "Li" please be sure this is the correct character before you order this scroll (look at your grandparents' Chinese passports or other documents if you are an ABC and are trying to create a heritage wall scroll).
Famous people with this surname include Bruce Lee (Li Xiao-Long), Minister Li Peng, and famous Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai. In Korea, this is the original character for a surname that romanizes as "Yi".
Note: This also one version of Lee that is a common Korean surname. However, it's often romanized as "Yi" and sometimes as "Ri" or "Rhee."
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Lee-Ella||李艾拉||lǐ ài lā|
li3 ai4 la1
li ai la
|Lee||リー||rii / ri|
|bu ruu su ri|
bu ru su ri
|lǐ xiǎo lóng|
li3 xiao3 long2
li xiao long
|li hsiao lung
|Ella||艾拉||ài lā / ai4 la1 / ai la / aila|
|Jeet Kune Do||截拳道||sekken dou / sekkendou / seken do / sekendo||jié quán dào|
jie2 quan2 dao4
jie quan dao
|chieh ch`üan tao
chieh chüan tao
|功夫||kan fu / ku fu|
kanfu / kufu
|gōng fu / gong1 fu / gong fu / gongfu||kung fu / kungfu|
|lì / li4 / li|
|Lee||莉||lì / li4 / li|
|Lee||力||lì / li4 / li|
|Lee||理||lǐ / li3 / li|
|李||ri / sumomo||lǐ / li3 / li|
|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.