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Black or White Cat Matters Not as Long as It Can Catch Mice in Chinese / Japanese...

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Black or white cat matters not as long as it can catch mice

Ability is more important than looks
China bù guǎn hēi māo bái māo néng zhuō zhe lǎo shǔ de jiù shì hǎo mǎo
Black or white cat matters not as long as it can catch mice

This literally translates as: It doesn't matter [if a] cat [is] black [or] white, [as long as it] can catch mice, it's a good cat.

This proverb was either composed or made famous by Deng XiaoPing in 1961 when he exclaimed, "I don't care if it's a white cat or a black cat. It's a good cat so long as it catches mice" when his critics pointed out that his ideas were Capitalistic (free market). The response was meant to say, "It does not matter if it's Communist or Capitalist, as long as it works."

This Chinese proverb can be used to suggest one should disregard looks or a person's race, as long as they can do the job. It can also be used as a metaphor for many other situations.


Deng XiaoPing probably saved China from collapse (as the Soviet Union experienced). He changed China's economy from pure Communism to a hybrid where the free market (Capitalism) is encouraged. More about Deng XiaoPing

Search for Black or White Cat Matters Not as Long as It Can Catch Mice in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary




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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersVarious forms of Romanized Chinese
Black or white cat matters not as long as it can catch mice不管黑貓白貓能捉著老鼠的就是好貓
不管黑猫白猫能捉着老鼠的就是好猫
bù guǎn hēi māo bái māo néng zhuō zhe lǎo shǔ de jiù shì hǎo mǎo
bu4 guan3 hei1 mao1 bai2 mao1 neng2 zhuo1 zhe lao3 shu3 de jiu4 shi4 hao3 mao3
bu guan hei mao bai mao neng zhuo zhe lao shu de jiu shi hao mao
pu kuan hei mao pai mao neng cho che lao shu te chiu shih hao mao
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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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.


Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.

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