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The name The Five Animals in Chinese / Japanese...

Buy a The Five Animals calligraphy wall scroll here!

Personalize your custom “The Five Animals” project by clicking the button next to your favorite “The Five Animals” title below...

See also: Chinese Zodiac / Animal Years


  1. Animal Kingdom

  2. Animals

  3. Bear

  4. Chou

  5. Every Creature Has A Domain

  6. The Five Animals

  7. Fire Tiger

  8. Fox

  9. Giraffe

10. Hunter

11. Kirin / Giraffe / Mythical Creature

12. Lioness

13. Sacrifice

14. Tooth for a tooth

15. Water Dragon / Rain Dragon

16. Wolf

17. Tiger

18. Old, But More Vigorous in Spirit

19. Les Chevaux / Horses


Animal Kingdom

 dòng wù wáng guó
 doubutsu oukoku
Animal Kingdom Scroll

動物王國 is literally what it says.

There is even a TV show in China that is similar to Wild Kingdom or what you would currently see on the Discovery Channel that has this same title.

For your information: In the Chinese way of thinking, the Tiger is the king of the animal kingdom (lions are not native to China, so the tiger took the role that we have given to the lion in our western way of thinking).

The modern Japanese version has a slight variation on the last character (国 instead of 國). Let me know if you want the modern Japanese version (國 would be considered the old or traditional version).

 dòng wù
 doubutsu
Animals Scroll

動物 is the way to write “animals” in Chinese characters, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

The first character means “moving,” and the second means “things.” So animals are “moving things” in these Asian languages.

 xióng
 kuma
 
Bear Scroll

熊 is the way to write “bear” (as in the animal) in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

If you are a bear fanatic, this is the wall scroll for you.

熊 is not specific to species, such as panda bears, polar bears, brown bears, etc.


If you need a more specific title, just post a contact me.


See Also:  Panda

 chǒu
 chuu
 
Chou Scroll

丑 can refer to the astrological time of the ox, or a Chinese surname, Chou.

丑 represents the 2nd earthly branch. In daily time, 1:00-3:00 AM, or the 12th/last month in the Chinese calendar.

In an ancient year-naming scheme, this can represent the year of the Ox (one of twelve animals paired with one of five element characters yielding a 60-year cycle).

Every Creature Has A Domain

 hǎi wéi lóng shì jiè yún shì hè jiā xiāng
Every Creature Has A Domain Scroll

海為龍世界雲是鶴家鄉 is a somewhat poetic way to say that everyone and everything has its place in the world.

Every Creature has a Domain The first line (which is the column on the right) says, “The Ocean is the World of the Dragon.” The next column says, “The Clouds are the Domain of the Cranes.”

The image to the right is what this calligraphy can look like in xing-kaishu style by a Master Calligrapher.

The Five Animals

Dragon Snake Tiger Leopard Crane

 lóng shé hǔ bào hè
 ryuu hebi tora hyou tsuru
The Five Animals Scroll

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 “feel right” to a Chinese person who views this arrangement).

 huǒ hǔ
 hi tora
Fire Tiger Scroll

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.

Fox

The Sly Animal

 hú
 kitsune
 
Fox Scroll

This is Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja title for the sly animal known as a fox.

 zhǎng jǐng lù
Giraffe Scroll

長頸鹿 is the Chinese word for Giraffe (the animal).

Not to be confused with the mythical “kirin” or “qilin” beast.

 liè rén
 ryou jin
Hunter Scroll

This is the Chinese title for hunter (as in one who hunts animals).


猟 In Japanese Kanji, a different version of the first character is used. If you want the Japanese version, click on the Kanji to the right, instead of the button above.

Kirin / Giraffe / Mythical Creature

 qí lǐn
 keilun
 kirin
Kirin / Giraffe / Mythical Creature Scroll

麒麟 is the title of a mythical beast of Asia.

The animal is thought to be related to the giraffe, and in some ways, it is a giraffe. However, it is often depicted with the horns of a dragon or deer and sometimes with the body like a horse, but many variations exist.

In Japanese, it is pronounced “Kirin” as in “Kirin Ichiban” beer.

Kirin - Mythical Beast and Great Japanese Beer!
Notes:

1. This is sometimes spelled as “kylin.”

2. In Japanese, this is the only Kanji word for giraffe. Therefore in Japan, this word needs context to know whether you are talking about the mythical creature or the long-necked giraffe of Africa.

3. Apparently, this was the first word used for regular giraffes in China (some were brought from Africa to China during the Ming Dynasty - probably around the year 1400). Though the mythical creature may have existed before, the name “qilin” was given to the “new giraffe.” This is because, more than 600 years ago, giraffes somewhat matched the mythical creature's description when Chinese people saw them for the first time. Later, to avoid such an ambiguous title, a three-character word was devised to mean a “giraffe of Africa.” The characters for “qilin” shown here are only for the mythological version in modern Chinese.

4. More information about the qilin / kirin from Wikipedia.

5. This creature is sometimes translated as the “Chinese Unicorn,” although it is generally portrayed with two horns. I think this is done more for the fantasy aspect of the unicorn and because most westerners don't know what a qilin or kirin is (this avoids a long explanation by the translator).

6. In Korean, this can mean kirin or simply giraffe (usually, the mythological creature is what they would think of when seeing these characters alone on a wall scroll).

 cí shī
Lioness Scroll

雌獅 is how to write “lioness” in Chinese.

Note: 雌獅 is not a very common title for a wall scroll in China. Perhaps because lions are not indigenous to China. Though oddly enough, the rarity of lions made them very prized - and lion dances are a popular festival attraction.
If you see the name of this animal species written on a wall scroll, it's more likely to be the masculine form of “lion.”

 xī shēng
 gi sei
Sacrifice Scroll

犧牲 means sacrifice in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

There is a suggestion in this word that this regards sacrificing your life.

Note: Depending on the context, this can also mean victim or scapegoat in Japanese.

In original and ancient Chinese, this word referred to sacrificial animals. It can still have this meaning in a Buddhist context.


犠The version of the first character used in modern Japan looks like the image to the right. If you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, it will be written in this Japanese version.

Tooth for a tooth

 yǐ yá huán yá
Tooth for a tooth Scroll

以牙還牙 is a phrase that often goes with “An eye for an eye,” even in Chinese. Revenge seems to cross all languages, cultures, and even species (animals are known to take revenge too).

If a Chinese person uses just one part of the full proverb, it will be this “tooth for a tooth” one. Although, we are more likely to say “eye for an eye” alone in English.

Chinese people may also read this with the meaning of “Bite me, and I will bite you back.” However, it literally means “tooth for a tooth” or “you take my tooth, I take yours.”

Water Dragon / Rain Dragon

 jiāo
 kou ryuu
Water Dragon / Rain Dragon Scroll

蛟龍 is the title for the water dragon is the hornless or scaled dragon. 蛟龍 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.

 láng
 okami
Wolf Scroll

狼 is the character used to represent the elusive animal known as the wolf in both Chinese and Japanese.

If you are a fan of the wolf or the wolf means something special to you, this could make a great addition to your wall.

Do keep in mind, that much like our perception of wolves in the history of western culture, eastern cultures do not have a very positive view of wolves (save the scientific community and animal lovers). The wolf is clearly an animal that is misunderstood or feared the world over.

狼 is seldom used alone in Korean Hanja but is used in a compound word that means utter failure (as in a wolf getting into your chicken pen - or an otherwise ferocious failure). Not a good choice if your audience is Korean.

Tiger

Year of the Tiger / Zodiac Sign

 hǔ
 tora
 
Tiger Scroll

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.
Love adventure
Don't like to obey others.


See also our Chinese Zodiac or Tiger Calligraphy pages.

Old, But More Vigorous in Spirit

Age is just a number

 lǎo dāng yì zhuàng
Old, But More Vigorous in Spirit Scroll

老當益壯 is a Chinese proverb that means “old but vigorous” or “hale and hearty despite the years.”

Said of someone who is more spirited when he/she grows older.

The story behind this Chinese proverb:

In the Eastern Han Dynasty, there was a man named Ma Yuan. He had been planning to herd animals on the frontier since he was young. When he grew up, Ma became a minor official of a county.

Once, he was sending some prisoners to another location. He felt pity for them, so he set them free, and then he fled to another county in the north. He herded animals there, and thus his dream came true. He always said: “If you want to be a great man, the poorer you are, the firmer in spirit you have to be; the older you are, the more spirited you should be.”

Later, when he was even older, Ma Yuan became a famous general of the Eastern Han Dynasty and contributed to many battles.

Les Chevaux / Horses

 mǎ pǐ
 bahitsu
Les Chevaux / Horses Scroll

馬匹 means horses in Chinese and Japanese.

The first character is “horse,” and the second is a quantifier for animals (especially horses, mules, and donkeys). 匹 can also mean “couple,” so in some contexts, this is a “couple of horses.”




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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
Animal Kingdom動物王國
动物王国
doubutsu oukoku
doubutsuoukoku
dobutsu okoku
dòng wù wáng guó
dong4 wu4 wang2 guo2
dong wu wang guo
dongwuwangguo
tung wu wang kuo
tungwuwangkuo
Animals動物
动物
doubutsu / dobutsudòng wù / dong4 wu4 / dong wu / dongwutung wu / tungwu
Bearkumaxióng / xiong2 / xionghsiung
Chouchuu / chuchǒu / chou3 / chouch`ou / chou
Every Creature Has A Domain海為龍世界雲是鶴家鄉
海为龙世界云是鹤家乡
hǎi wéi lóng shì jiè yún shì hè jiā xiāng
hai3 wei2 long2 shi4 jie4 yun2 shi4 he4 jia1 xiang1
hai wei long shi jie yun shi he jia xiang
hai wei lung shih chieh yün shih ho chia hsiang
The Five Animals龍蛇虎豹鶴
龙蛇虎豹鹤
ryuu hebi tora hyou tsuru
ryuuhebitorahyoutsuru
ryu hebi tora hyo tsuru
lóng shé hǔ bào hè
long2 she2 hu3 bao4 he4
long she hu bao he
longshehubaohe
lung she hu pao ho
lungshehupaoho
Fire Tiger火虎hi tora / hitorahuǒ hǔ / huo3 hu3 / huo hu / huohu
Foxkitsunehú / hu2 / hu
Giraffe長頸鹿
长颈鹿
zhǎng jǐng lù
zhang3 jing3 lu4
zhang jing lu
zhangjinglu
chang ching lu
changchinglu
Hunter獵人 / 猟人
猎人
ryou jin / ryoujin / ryo jinliè rén / lie4 ren2 / lie ren / lierenlieh jen / liehjen
Kirin
Giraffe
Mythical Creature
麒麟kirinqí lǐn / qi2 lin3 / qi lin / qilinch`i lin / chilin / chi lin
Lioness雌獅
雌狮
cí shī / ci2 shi1 / ci shi / cishitz`u shih / tzushih / tzu shih
Sacrifice犧牲 / 犠牲
牺牲
gi sei / giseixī shēng / xi1 sheng1 / xi sheng / xishenghsi sheng / hsisheng
Tooth for a tooth以牙還牙
以牙还牙
yǐ yá huán yá
yi3 ya2 huan2 ya2
yi ya huan ya
yiyahuanya
i ya huan ya
iyahuanya
Water Dragon
Rain Dragon
蛟龍
蛟龙
kou ryuu / kouryuu / ko ryujiāo
jiao1 long2
jiao long
jiaolong
chiao lung
chiaolung
Wolfokamiláng / lang2 / lang
Tigertorahǔ / hu3 / hu
Old, But More Vigorous in Spirit老當益壯
老当益壮
lǎo dāng yì zhuàng
lao3 dang1 yi4 zhuang4
lao dang yi zhuang
laodangyizhuang
lao tang i chuang
laotangichuang
Les Chevaux
Horses
馬匹
马匹
bahitsumǎ pǐ / ma3 pi3 / ma pi / mapima p`i / mapi / ma pi
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.


Dictionary

Lookup The Five Animals in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


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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.

Some people may refer to this entry as The Five Animals Kanji, The Five Animals Characters, The Five Animals in Mandarin Chinese, The Five Animals Characters, The Five Animals in Chinese Writing, The Five Animals in Japanese Writing, The Five Animals in Asian Writing, The Five Animals Ideograms, Chinese The Five Animals symbols, The Five Animals Hieroglyphics, The Five Animals Glyphs, The Five Animals in Chinese Letters, The Five Animals Hanzi, The Five Animals in Japanese Kanji, The Five Animals Pictograms, The Five Animals in the Chinese Written-Language, or The Five Animals in the Japanese Written-Language.

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