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4. Ba Gua
6. Divine Light
15. Xishi / Xi Shi
16. Lao Tzu / Laozi
18. Walk in the Way
19. Feng Shui
21. Fire Tiger
26. Bonsai / Penzai
29. Ice / Frost
44. Tiger Rumor
全能 means almighty or omnipotent in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
In some context, this can mean all-round, or strong in every area (especially in the context of athletics).
This literally translates as, "the red string" or "the red thread" in Japanese but the real meaning is much deeper...
In Japanese culture, it's believed that fate, destiny, or karma joins lovers by an unseen string, tied around one little finger of each. 赤い糸 is how soul mates fine and are drawn to each other.
The Japanese concept of the red thread of fate, by most estimations, comes from Chinese folklore, where it's known as 姻緣紅線. The only difference being that in China, the celestial red thread is tied around the ankles of the lovers (versus what is usually represented to be the pinky finger in Japan).
纍 means rope, to bind together, or to twist around.
It's also a Chinese surname Lei (one of several versions of Lei).
感激 is thankfulness or being grateful for what you have.
It is an attitude of gratitude for learning, loving and being. Appreciate the little things that happen around you and within you every day. Think positively. Thankfulness brings contentment.
Different meaning in Japanese - more like "deep emotion," "impression," "inspiration" - not recommended for a Japanese audience.
This ancient "One Justice Can Overpower a Hundred Evils" idiom and proverb is famous in China. But it has been around so long that its origins have long been forgotten.
It could be something that Confucius or one of his disciples said but no one can say for sure.
自律 means self-discipline and self-control.
It is doing what you really want to do, rather than being tossed around by your feelings like a leaf in the wind. You act instead of react. You get things done in an orderly and efficient way. With self-discipline, you take charge of yourself.
Not sure if this one works for a Japanese audience.
寶寶 is how Chinese people express "baby."
The word is composed of the same character twice, and therefore literally means "double precious" or "double treasure."
This would be a nice wall scroll to put either inside or by the door of your baby's room (not on the door, as wall scrolls swing around wildly when hung on doors that open and close a lot).
This is an excerpt from Revelations 22:20. It says "Surely, I am coming quickly" or "Surely I come quickly" depending on which Bible translation you use.
The Chinese translation here comes from the Chinese Union Bible which has been around for almost 100 years and it the standard for Chinese Christians.
西施 is the Chinese title for Xishi, who lived around 450 BC. She was a famous Chinese beauty, perhaps the foremost of the Four Beauties (四大美女). She was given by King Gou Jian of the Yue Kingdom as a concubine to the King of Wu. This was part of an elaborate plan to destroy the Wu Kingdom - and it worked.
Note: In Japanese, this can be an unrelated given name, Seishi. Though the Xishi story is somewhat known in Japan.
Depending on the romanization scheme you use, this man's name can be spelled Laozi, Lao Tzu, or Lao Tze. In older English usage, he was known as Laocius. He is believed to have lived around 500 B.C.
He was a Chinese philosopher, founder of Daoism/Taoism, credited with being the author of the sacred and wise book of Daoism/Taoism.
There is a theory that Lao Tzu's soul traveled to India and was reborn as the Buddha.
針療法 is one of two ways to write acupuncture in Chinese and Japanese.
The first character means "needle" or "pin." The second character means "to treat" or "to cure." The last character means "method" or "way."
針療法 is the only reasonable selection if your audience is Japanese. 針療法 is the formal way to express acupuncture in Chinese, so this version is universal in most of Asia (the best all around choice in most cases).
In Taoist and Buddhist context, this means to "Walk in the Way." In Buddhism, that further means to follow the Buddha truth. In some Buddhist sects, this can mean to make a procession around a statue of the Buddha (always with the right shoulder towards the Buddha).
Outside of that context, this can mean route (when going somewhere), the way to get somewhere, etc.
In Japanese, this can be the surname or given name Yukimichi.
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."
棒術 is the title Bōjutsu (though some use the romanization Bojitsu). A martial art centered around the use of a "bō" or staff as a weapon.
This title is a combination of the Japanese word "bō" (which means staff, stick, club, rod, pole, or cudgel) with the Japanese word "jutsu" (which means art, or technique).
While this word can be pronounced in Chinese (bang shu), it's not a common term in China. Please consider this title to be "Japanese only."
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.
仏 is the single Japanese Kanji can mean Buddha or Buddhism.
This Kanji was actually a shorthand way to write 佛 (Buddha) in Chinese (popular around the 13th century). Somehow, this became the version of this Chinese character that was absorbed into Japanese, and thus became part of standard Kanji. Centuries later, this character is not recognized in Chinese at all (except by those from China with a background in Chinese literature or language).
仏 is also a rare or derivative Korean Hanja form - but I doubt you will find any Korean that knows that.
This Chinese proverb literally translates as: Without being knocked around a bit, [one's] bones won't become hard.
Figuratively, this means: One can't become strong without first being tempered by "hard knocks."
While true for everyone, this sounds like the "Iron Body" form of Kung Fu, where practitioners bodies are beaten (and often bone fractured) in order to become stronger.
For the rest of us, this is just about how we can be tempered and build character through the hardships in our lives.
This is not a common title for a wall scroll in China.
This is the Mawangdui version of Daodejing chapter 81.
This Japanese proverb simply reads, "[In] Flowers it's Cherry Blossoms, [In] Men it's Warriors."
This is meant to say that of all the flowers in the world, the cherry blossom is the best. And of all men in the world, the Samurai or Warrior is the best
This proverb has been around for a long time. It's believed to have been composed sometime before the Edo Period in Japan (which started in 1603).
Some will drop one syllable and pronounce this, "hana wa sakura hito wa bushi." That's "sakura" instead of "sakuragi," which is like saying "cherry blossom" instead of "cherry tree."
The third character was traditionally written as 櫻. But in modern Japan, that became 桜. You may still see 櫻 used from time to time on older pieces of calligraphy. We can do either one, so just make a special request if you want 櫻.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
盆栽 is the word that refers to the culture, hobby and to the miniature trees themselves that have become popular around the world.
Like many things, this art migrated from China to Japan some time ago but we tend to associate it with Japanese culture and even use the Japanese word in English.
Granted, in present day, this hobby seems to be more popular in Japan but still has a great following in China and even a little in Korea as well.
Note: Many people confuse the title of the bonsai tree with "banzai" which is a form of "hooray" in Japanese. I have also seen it misspelled as "bansai." The correct Romanization (Romaji) is "bonsai."
正念 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right Mindfulness, along with Right Effort and Right Concentration constitute the path to Concentration or Perfect Thought.
Right Mindfulness is about remaining focused on one's body, feelings, mind and mental qualities. It's also about being ardent, aware, and mindful, and supposes that you've already put aside worldly desire and aversion.
Monk Bhikkhu Bodhi described this as: The mind is deliberately kept at the level of bare attention, a detached observation of what is happening within us and around us in the present moment. In the practice of right mindfulness the mind is trained to remain in the present, open, quiet, and alert, contemplating the present event.
Another definition: Ongoing mindfulness of body, feelings, thinking, and objects of thought.
This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Japanese and Chinese people.
星 is how "star" is written in Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean.
Thousands of years ago, when this character was first developed, there was belief that you could see remnants of stars in everything. In fact, some early Chinese men of science suggested that all living things came from "stardust" or cosmic debris. This could explain why the upper portion of this character mans "sun" (a star itself) and the lower portion means "birth" or "life."
Oddly enough, modern-day scientists suggest that we are all made up of cosmic dust. Seems they were getting it right in China at a time when the western world thought the Earth was flat and the Church was claiming that the sun and all cosmic bodies revolved around the Earth.
冰 is the Japanese Kanji for "ice" or "frost."
冰 is also the way to write "ice" in old Korean Hanja.
Note: This form is not commonly used anymore in Chinese - though still understood for the most part.
FYI: There was a time when Japan did not have a written language and simply absorbed Chinese characters into their language by meaning. When this occurred around the 5th century, the character shown here was a common but alternate way to write "ice" in Chinese, so it was the one that ended up being absorbed into the Japanese language. Not long after that, a similar thing happened in Korea - although Korea has replaced virtually all of the Chinese characters they once used with the new Hangul writing system.
仏教 can mean Buddha or Buddhism in Japanese.
Depending on context, this word can be used to refer to the religion and lifestyle of Buddhism, or in some cases, the Buddha himself.
Note: Until the 5th century, Japan did not have a written language. At that time, Japan absorbed Chinese characters to form their written language (these characters are known as "Kanji" in Japanese). The first character of this Buddhism title was actually a shorthand way to write 佛 (Buddha) in Chinese (popular around the 13th century). Somehow, this became the version of this character that was absorbed into Japanese, and thus became part of standard Kanji. Centuries later, this character is not recognized in Chinese at all.
仏 is also a rare form of Buddha Korean Hanja - though seldom used even when the Korean Hanja writing system was more common 100 years ago.
The first two characters mean "fist law" which is Romanized from Japanese as "Kenpo" or "Kempo."
The last two are a secondary way to express "karate."
The more common way to express "karate" is literally "empty hand" (meaning "without weapons in your hand"). This version would be translated literally as "Tang hand" (as in the Tang Dynasty) or "China hand" (sometimes "Tang" means "China" in Japanese). Even though the character for "Tang" is used instead of "empty," it's still pronounced "kara-te" in Japanese.
拳法唐手 is not commonly used in China - so please consider it to be a Japanese-only title.
Many Japanese people will say the last two Kanji are the old and antiquated way to say Karate. This fact does not stop this title from existing, as these four characters are often seen in Kenpo / Kempo Dojos around the western world.
武蔵 is the short title for a man long in legend. Miyamoto Musashi is probably the most famous Samurai in all of Japanese history. While coming from a lower class, his new sword and fighting techniques put him on par with the best that feudal Japan had to offer. His long career started with his first duel was at age 13!
He is credited both with using two swords at once, and never losing a single battle in his career. After becoming a Buddhist, and getting older, like many old warriors, he took up a peaceful and solitary life until his death around 1645 A.D.
Note: Technically, Musashi is his given name, and Miyamoto is his surname. However, it's suggested that he assumed both of these names, and also had a few other names at childhood, as well as being given a Buddhist name. It's hard to know what to call him, as with most Kanji, there are multiple pronunciations. The characters for Musashi can also be pronounced "Takezō." But, everyone in modern times seems to know him by the name Musashi.
年年有餘 is a common proverb or wish of prosperity you'll hear around the time of Chinese New Years.
Directly translated character by character it means, "Year Year Have Surplus." A more natural English translation including the deeper meaning would be "Every Year may you Have Abundance in your life."
On a side note, this phrase often goes with a gift of something related to fish. 年年有餘 is because the last character "yu" which means surplus or abundance has exactly the same pronunciation in Mandarin as the word for "fish."
年年有餘 is also one of the most common titles for traditional paintings that feature koi fish.
In China, this phrase might make an odd wall scroll - a customer asked especially for this common phrase which is why it appears here. See my other abundance-related words if you want a wall scroll that will seem more comfortable in Chinese culture.
Note: This can be pronounced in Korean, but it's not a commonly used term.
少林寺拳法 is a specific type of martial arts in Japan that claims origins in the Kung Fu practiced in the original Shaolin Monastery of China.
The first three characters mean "Shaolin Monastery" and you might notice the Japanese is pronounced in a very similar way. 少林寺拳法 is because many words were "borrowed" from the original Chinese when Japan did not have a written language and simply absorbed Chinese characters into their language around the 5th century. When a Japanese word did not exist, the Chinese pronunciation was often absorbed as well as the written form.
The last two characters mean "fist law" or "method of the fist." It has long been argued as to whether the Japanese for these characters should be Romanized as "kempo" or "kenpo." The official method should be "kenpou" but it's common to drop the "u" that comes after the "o."
I imagine if you are looking for this title, you already know what it means, so the above is simply extra information that a student of Shorinji Kempo might want to know.
In short, kansei engineering involves collecting data on human experiences with a product, and then designing or engineering improvements based on those experiences or "senses." Some may define this as "engineering around the human experience."
There is a lot more to know about kansei but if you are looking for this word, you probably already know the big picture.
Note: This term is very new in China, and only used by businesses, factories, and engineers that are implementing TQM principles. While the characters have the same base meaning in both languages, this is really a Japanese title that is flowing back into the Chinese language (in history, most things flowed from China to Japan). To a Chinese person that is not familiar with this concept, they may interpret this as "sense vocational studies," which doesn't make much sense. You may have to explain the intended meaning to some Chinese viewers. But that can make it a great conversation piece.
感性工學 is also a newer term in Korean, and is only used in certain parts of industry, with the definition of "Sensory Engineering." Not yet in widespread use in Korea.
See Also: Kaizen
師傅 is "sifu" as in the "master" in the context of martial arts.
But there are two sifu titles floating around. This one can simply mean "skilled worker."
Historically, this term has been used for a lot of things, such as, "The tutor of a king or emperor." But now it's more commonly used to mean, master worker, or qualified worker.
Currently, within the field of skilled labor, a master (shifu) is higher than a journeyman, and is considered to be one worthy to teach others.
Note: In the 1970's and 1980's this term was used as a common form of polite address between people. You might say, "master, do you know were Tian'anmen Square is?" to just a person on the street at that time. This usage has almost passed, however, for some reason, people still often refer to taxi cab drivers as "master" in China (though I think/hope this is fading).
In Mandarin Chinese, this is pronounced like "Sure Foo," and in Cantonese like, "See Foo."
The second character is the difference between this sifu and the other. In this case, the second character by itself means tutor, instructor, or teacher.
This Japanese proverb relays the vicissitudes of life, with the meaning "seven times down eight times up."
Some would more naturally translate it into English as "Always rising after a fall or repeated failures" or compare it to the English, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
The first Kanji is literally "7." The second means "fall down" (sometimes this Kanji means "turn around," "revolve" or "turn over" but in this case, it holds the meaning of "fall"). The third is "8." And the last is "get up," "rouse," or "rise."
Basically, if you fail 7 times, you should recover from those events and be prepared to rise an 8th time. This also applies if it is the world or circumstances that knock you down seven times...
...just remember that you have the ability to bounce back from any kind of adversity.
Note: This can be pronounced two ways. One is "shichi ten hakki" or "shichitenhakki." The other is "nana korobi ya oki" also written, "nanakorobi-yaoki."
Special Note: The second character is a Kanji that is not used in China. Therefore, please only select our Japanese master calligrapher for this selection.
Taidō (The Way of the Body) is a style of Karate practiced in Japan and popular around the world.
Taidō or 躰道 traces a lineage from Genseiryū (玄制流) which came from Shuri-te (首里手), one of the original martial arts schools of ancient Okinawa.
The first character 躰 is a variant of the original Chinese character 體. In modern Japan, they tend to use 体, a more simple form of the character. 体 is also the modern Simplified Chinese form of 體.
The 躰 character is correct for this 躰道 martial arts title. But it can be confusing with so many variants out there, not to mention other homophonic Japanese words that also romanize as Taidō or Taidou.
To have a bit more fun with this 躰 character, it has a 身 radical on the left, which sets it apart. The meaning doubles up on the "body" as 身 (shin) is a character that also means body in Japanese and Chinese. On the right is 本 which often means root, stem, origin, source, or fundamental (but can also mean "book" in some contexts). This has deviated from the original 體 which was 骨 (bone) + 豊 (vessel). Hence, body was your "bone vessel" in ancient Asia.
The meaning of 躰, as well as 體 and 体, is usually translated as body. When related to the physical body, it can also refer to the torso, trunk, build, physique, or constitution of a person. As an extension of this, it can also refer to someone's health (good body = good health).
However, depending on context, it can encompass other meanings such as: form; style; system; to experience; aspect; corpus, corporeal; the substance, the essentials.
The second character, 道, is recognized and well-known as the "Way" and is the same "do" as in Karate-do or Aikido.
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.
1. 麒麟 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". 麒麟 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", even though 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).
Start customizing a "Double Happiness Guest Book Wall Scroll" Here!
The paper panel length can be whatever you choose from 68cm to 135cm (27" to 53").
If you don't mention what paper length you want in the special instructions tab (on the next page), we'll make it about 100cm (40").
The medium size scroll with a 33cm x 100cm (13" x 40") paper panel can usually handle up to 89 signatures. That breaks down to 37 signatures per empty square and 15 signatures around the 囍 character. If you switch to a 135cm paper panel, add another 37 potential signatures.
We can splice two 135cm papers together, but that would be a crazy-long scroll. These are only estimates, your mileage may vary.
With silk panels this will yield a wall scroll about 155cm (61") long. That's enough for up to 89 signatures. Of course, that depends on if your guests just sign a brief salutation and name, or more verbose good wishes. Customer feedback is that 126 people can sign the 135cm long paper on a medium-sized scroll. If we go bigger than that, there will be a minor paper seam and an extra charge. Email me with your specifications if you need something special.
Most customers pick the festive red paper with gold flecks and white or ivory silk. Red is a good luck color in Chinese culture, thus the most popular choice. But, you can do any color combination that you want.
There is a long history of Chinese-character-use outside of mainland China. This Double Happiness character is also seen at weddings in Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, as well as Chinese communities in Thailand, Indonesia, and elsewhere. While Japan borrowed Chinese characters into their language, you won't see 囍 as often at Japanese weddings.
Hapkido or 合氣道 is a mostly-defensive martial art of Korea.
Hapkido has some connection to Aikido of Japan. In fact, they are written with the same characters in both languages. However, it should be noted that the Korean Hanja characters shown here are the traditional Chinese form - but in modern Japan, the middle character was slightly simplified.
Note: You can consider this to be the older Japanese written form of Aikido. Titles on older books and signs about Aikido use this form.
The connection between Japanese Aikido and Korean Hapkido is a bit muddled in history. The issue is probably due to the difficult relationship between the two countries around the time of WWII. Many Koreans became virtual slaves for the Japanese during that period. After WWII, many things in Korea were disassociated from having any Japanese origin. The relationship has greatly mellowed out now.
Looking at the characters, the first means "union" or "harmony."
The second character means "universal energy" or "spirit."
The third means "way" or "method."
One way to translate this into English is "Harmonizing Energy Method." This makes since, as Hapkido has more to do with redirecting energy, rather that fighting with strength against strength.
More Hapkido info
1. Sometimes Hapkido is Romanized as "hap ki do," "hapki-do" "hab gi do" or "hapgido."
2. Korean Hanja characters are actually Chinese characters that usually hold the same meaning in both languages. There was a time when these characters were the standard and only written form of Korean. The development of modern Korean Hangul characters is a somewhat recent event in the greater scope of history. There was a time when Chinese characters were the written form of many languages in places known in modern times as North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, and a significant portion of Malaysia. Even today, more people in the world can read Chinese characters than English.
3. While these Korean Hanja characters can be pronounced in Chinese, this word is not well-known in China and is not considered part of the Chinese lexicon.
This form of martial arts can be translated in several ways. Some will call it "fist principles" or "the way of the fist," or even "law of the fist." The first character literally means fist. The second can mean law, method, way, principle or Buddhist teaching.
Kempo is really a potluck of martial arts. Often a combination of Chinese martial arts such as Shaolin Kung Fu with Japanese martial arts such as Karate, Jujutsu (Jujitsu), Aikido, and others. You may see the term "Kempo Karate" which basically means Karate with other disciplines added. In this way, Kempo becomes an adjective rather than a title or school of martial arts.
These facts will long be argued by various masters and students of Kempo. Even the argument as to whether it should be spelled "kenpo" or "Kempo" ensues at dojos around the world (the correct Romaji should actually be "kenpou" if you precisely follow the rules).
The benefit of Kempo is that the techniques are easier to learn and master compared to pure Kung Fu (wu shu). Students are often taught basic Karate moves, kicks, and punches before augmenting the basic skills with complex Kung Fu techniques. This allows students of Kempo achieve a level where they can defend themselves or fight in a relatively short amount of time (a few years rather than a decade or more).
Because the definition of this word is so fluid, I should make some notes here:
1. Purists in Okinawa will claim that "Okinawa Kenpo" or "Ryukyu Hon Kenpo" is the original and true version of this martial art from the old kingdom. There is actually little or no connection between Okinawa Kenpo and the way the word is used elsewhere.
2. In Chinese, where these characters are pronounced "quan fa" (sometimes Romanized as "chuan fa" because the Chinese-pinyin "q" actually sounds like an English "ch" sound), these characters do not hold the connotation of being a mixed martial art. It is simply defined as "the law of the fist."
3. In my Japanese dictionary, it oddly defines Kenpo as "Chinese art of self-defense." I personally don't feel this is the most common way that people perceive the word but just something you should know.
The dictionary definition is:
relations / relationship / to concern / to affect / to have to do with / connection.
But there's more to it...
In China, your relationship that you have with certain people can open doors for you. Having guanxi with someone also means they would never defraud you but instead are honor-bound to treat you fairly (of course, this goes both ways). Sometimes it is suggested that guanxi is the exchange of favors. I would say this is more having a relationship that allows you to ask for, and expect favors without shame.
There is no concept in western culture that exactly matches guanxi but perhaps having a social or professional network is similar.
Note that there are some variations common within Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and Korean Hanja for this word...
Japanese tend to use a Chinese alternate form as shown to the right for
the first character.
There's also another alternate form of that first character (currently used as the official Simplified form in mainland China) which looks like the character shown to the right. It's basically the central radical of the alternate version shown above but without the "door radical" around it. In more free-flowing calligraphy styles, this version would be the likely choice for a calligrapher.
In Modern Japanese, they use the character shown to the right.
They also tend to use this same form in Korean Hanja (I've only checked this word in my Korean dictionary but it has not been confirmed by a translator's review).
If that was not confusing enough, there is another alternate form of that second character. See right.
An Asian calligrapher of any nationality may use any of these forms at their discretion. However, They would tend to stick to the most common form used in their respective languages.
If you have any preference on any of these issues, please give us a special note with your order, and we'll make sure it's done the way you want.
These four characters together relay the meaning that can be expressed in English as, "When three people say there's a tiger running in the street, you believe it."
Of course, there is an ancient story behind this idiom...
三人成虎 is actually a proverb that resulted from a conversation that occurred around 300 B.C.
The conversation was between the king of the Wei kingdom and one of the king's ministers named Pang Cong.
It was near the end of one of many wars, this time with the Zhao kingdom. Pang Cong was to be sent by the king to the Zhao kingdom with the king's son who was to be held hostage. It was common at the time for a king to make his son a hostage to secure stable peace between warring kingdoms.
Before minister Pang Cong departed, he asked his king, "If one person told you there was a tiger running in the street, would you believe it?."
"No," the king said.
The minister continued, "What if two people told you?"
The king replied, "Well, I would have my doubts but I might believe it."
The minister continued, "So, what if three people told you that there is a tiger running in the streets?"
The king replied, "Yes, I would believe it, it must be true if three people say it."
The minister then reminded the king, "Your son and I are now traveling far away to live in the distant Zhao kingdom - much farther from your palace than the street. Rumors may fly about me in my absence, so I hope your majesty will weight such rumors appropriately."
The king replied, "I have every trust in you, do not worry"
While the minister was gone, the king's enemies gossiped about minister Pang Cong on many occasions. At first, the king thought nothing of these comments and rumors. But slowly as the rumors mounted, the king began to suspect ill of his minister.
Some time later when peace was well-established, the minister and prince were freed and returned to the kingdom of Wei. The king received his son, BUT DID NOT EVEN SUMMON MINISTER PANG CONG TO THE PALACE!
Hopefully this story will help you see how dangerous words can be when used to promote rumors, or create ill will. And perhaps will inspire you to not believe everything you hear.
There is also a secondary suggestion in this idiom that gossip is as ferocious as a tiger. Some Chinese people who don't know the ancient story above may believe that this scroll means that rumors are as vicious as three tigers.
Note: This proverb appears in my Korean dictionary but is not well-known in Korea.
This Chinese proverb means "Be undaunted in the face of repeated setbacks." More directly-translated, it reads, "[Overcome] a hundred setbacks, without flinching." 百折不撓 is of Chinese origin but is commonly used in Japanese, and somewhat in Korean (same characters, different pronunciation).
This proverb comes from a long, and occasionally tragic story of a man that lived sometime around 25-220 AD. His name was Qiao Xuan and he never stooped to flattery but remained an upright person at all times. He fought to expose corruption of higher-level government officials at great risk to himself.
Then when he was at a higher level in the Imperial Court, bandits were regularly capturing hostages and demanding ransoms. But when his own son was captured, he was so focused on his duty to the Emperor and common good that he sent a platoon of soldiers to raid the bandits' hideout, and stop them once and for all even at the risk of his own son's life. While all of the bandits were arrested in the raid, they killed Qiao Xuan's son at first sight of the raiding soldiers.
Near the end of his career a new Emperor came to power, and Qiao Xuan reported to him that one of his ministers was bullying the people and extorting money from them. The new Emperor refused to listen to Qiao Xuan and even promoted the corrupt Minister. Qiao Xuan was so disgusted that in protest he resigned his post as minister (something almost never done) and left for his home village.
His tombstone reads "Bai Zhe Bu Nao" which is now a proverb used in Chinese culture to describe a person of strength will who puts up stubborn resistance against great odds.
My Chinese-English dictionary defines these 4 characters as, "keep on fighting in spite of all setbacks," "be undaunted by repeated setbacks" and "be indomitable."
Our translator says it can mean, "never give up" in modern Chinese.
Although the first two characters are translated correctly as "repeated setbacks," the literal meaning is "100 setbacks" or "a rope that breaks 100 times." The last two characters can mean "do not yield" or "do not give up."
Most Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people will not take this absolutely literal meaning but will instead understand it as the title suggests above. If you want a single big word definition, it would be indefatigability, indomitableness, persistence, or unyielding.
This poem was written almost 1200 years ago during the Tang dynasty.
It depicts traveling up a place known as Cold Mountain, where some hearty people have built their homes. The traveler is overwhelmed by the beauty of the turning leaves of the maple forest that surrounds him just as night overtakes the day, and darkness prevails. His heart implores him to stop, and take in all of the beauty around him.
First before you get to the full translation, I must tell you that Chinese poetry is a lot different than what we have in the west. Chinese words simply don't rhyme in the same way that English, or other western languages do. Chinese poetry depends on rhythm and a certain beat of repeated numbers of characters.
I have done my best to translate this poem keeping a certain feel of the original poet. But some of the original beauty of the poem in it's original Chinese will be lost in translation.
Far away on Cold Mountain, a stone path leads upwards.
Among white clouds, people's homes reside.
Stopping my carriage I must, as to admire the maple forest at nights fall.
In awe of autumn leaves showing more red than even flowers of early spring.
Hopefully, this poem will remind you to stop, and "take it all in" as you travel through life.
The poet's name is "Du Mu" in Chinese that is: .
The title of the poem, "Mountain Travels" is:
You can have the title, poet's name, and even Tang Dynasty written as an inscription on your custom wall scroll if you like.
More about the poet:
Dumu lived from 803-852 AD and was a leading Chinese poet during the later part of the Tang dynasty.
He was born in Chang'an, a city of central China and former capital of the ancient Chinese empire in 221-206 BC. In present-day China, his birthplace is currently known as Xi'an, the home of the Terracotta Soldiers.
He was awarded his Jinshi degree (an exam administered by the emperor's court which leads to becoming an official of the court) at the age of 25, and went on to hold many official positions over the years. However, he never achieved a high rank, apparently because of some disputes between various factions, and his family's criticism of the government. His last post in the court was his appointment to the office of Secretariat Drafter.
During his life, he wrote scores of narrative poems, as well as a commentary on the Art of War and many letters of advice to high officials.
His poems were often very realistic, and often depicted every day life. He wrote poems about everything, from drinking beer in a tavern to weepy poems about lost love.
The thing that strikes you most is the fact even after 1200 years, not much has changed about the beauty of nature, toils and troubles of love and beer drinking.
Long ago in what is now China, there were many kingdoms throughout the land. This time period is known as "The Warring States Period" by historians because these kingdoms often did not get along with each other.
Some time around 279 B.C. the Kingdom of Chu was a large but not particularly powerful kingdom. Part of the reason it lacked power was the fact that the King was surrounded by "yes men" who told him only what he wanted to hear. Many of the King's court officials were corrupt and incompetent which did not help the situation.
The King was not blameless himself, as he started spending much of his time being entertained by his many concubines.
One of the King's ministers, Zhuang Xin, saw problems on the horizon for the Kingdom, and warned the King, "Your Majesty, you are surrounded by people who tell you what you want to hear. They tell you things to make you happy, and cause you to ignore important state affairs. If this is allowed to continue, the Kingdom of Chu will surely perish, and fall into ruins."
This enraged the King who scolded Zhuang Xin for insulting the country and accused him of trying to create resentment among the people. Zhuang Xin explained, "I dare not curse the Kingdom of Chu but I feel that we face great danger in the future because of the current situation." The King was simply not impressed with Zhuang Xin's words.
Seeing the King's displeasure with him and the King's fondness for his court of corrupt officials, Zhuang Xin asked permission of the King that he may take leave of the Kingdom of Chu, and travel to the State of Zhao to live. The King agreed, and Zhuang Xin left the Kingdom of Chu, perhaps forever.
Five months later, troops from the neighboring Kingdom of Qin invaded Chu, taking a huge tract of land. The King of Chu went into exile, and it appeared that soon, the Kingdom of Chu would no longer exist.
The King of Chu remembered the words of Zhuang Xin, and sent some of his men to find him. Immediately, Zhuang Xin returned to meet the King. The first question asked by the King was, "What can I do now?"
Zhuang Xin told the King this story:
A shepherd woke one morning to find a sheep missing. Looking at the pen saw a hole in the fence where a wolf had come through to steal one of his sheep. His friends told him that he had best fix the hole at once. But the Shepherd thought since the sheep is already gone, there is no use fixing the hole.
The next morning, another sheep was missing. And the Shepherd realized that he must mend the fence at once. Zhuang Xin then went on to make suggestions about what could be done to reclaim the land lost to the Kingdom of Qin, and reclaim the former glory and integrity in the Kingdom of Chu.
The Chinese idiom shown above came from this reply from Zhuang Xin to the King of Chu almost 2,300 years ago.
It translates roughly into English as...
"Even if you have lost some sheep, it's never too late to mend the fence."
This proverb is often used in modern China when suggesting in a hopeful way that someone change their ways, or fix something in their life. It might be used to suggest fixing a marriage, quit smoking, or getting back on track after taking an unfortunate path in life among other things one might fix in their life.
I suppose in the same way that we might say, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" in our western cultures to suggest that you can always start anew.
Note: This does have Korean pronunciation but is not a well-known proverb in Korean (only Koreans familiar with ancient Chinese history would know it). Best if your audience is Chinese.
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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|
|Karma - Cause and Effect||因果||inga||yīn guǒ / yin1 guo3 / yin guo / yinguo||yin kuo / yinkuo|
|全能||zennou / zenno||quán néng|
|The Red String||赤い糸||akai ito / akaiito|
|Ba Gua||八卦||bā guà / ba1 gua4 / ba gua / bagua||pa kua / pakua|
|léi / lei2 / lei|
|Eye for an eye||以眼還眼|
|yǐ yǎn huán yǎn|
yi3 yan3 huan2 yan3
yi yan huan yan
|i yen huan yen
|The Aura of Buddha||佛光||bukkou / buko||fó guāng / fo2 guang1 / fo guang / foguang||fo kuang / fokuang|
|Thankfulness||感激||kangeki||gǎn jī / gan3 ji1 / gan ji / ganji||kan chi / kanchi|
|One Justice Can Overpower 100 Evils||一正壓百邪|
|yī zhèng yā bǎi xié|
yi1 zheng4 ya1 bai3 xie2
yi zheng ya bai xie
|i cheng ya pai hsieh
|Judo||柔道||judo||róu dào / rou2 dao4 / rou dao / roudao||jou tao / joutao|
|自律||jiritsu||zì lǜ / zi4 lv4 / zi lv / zilv||tzu lü / tzulü|
|bǎo bao / bao3 bao / bao bao / baobao||pao pao / paopao|
|Surely I come quickly||是了我必快來|
|shì le wǒ bì kuài lái|
shi4 le wo3 bi4 kuai4 lai2
shi le wo bi kuai lai
|shih le wo pi k`uai lai
shih le wo pi kuai lai
|西施||sei shi / seishi||xī shī / xi1 shi1 / xi shi / xishi||hsi shih / hsishih|
|老子||roushi / roshi||lǎo zǐ / lao3 zi3 / lao zi / laozi||lao tzu / laotzu|
|hari ryou hou|
hari ryo ho
|zhēn liáo fǎ|
zhen1 liao2 fa3
zhen liao fa
|chen liao fa
|Walk in the Way||行道||yukimichi||xíng dào / xing2 dao4 / xing dao / xingdao||hsing tao / hsingtao|
|fuu sui / fuusui / fu sui / fusui||fēng shuǐ|
|bou jutsu / boujutsu / bo jutsu / bojutsu||bàng shù / bang4 shu4 / bang shu / bangshu||pang shu / pangshu|
|Fire Tiger||火虎||hi tora / hitora||huǒ hǔ / huo3 hu3 / huo hu / huohu|
|仏 / 佛|
|hotoke / butsu|
|Strong bones come from hard knocks||不磕不碰骨頭不硬|
|bù kē bù pèng gǔ tóu bù yìng|
bu4 ke1 bu4 peng4 gu3 tou2 bu4 ying4
bu ke bu peng gu tou bu ying
|pu k`o pu p`eng ku t`ou pu ying
pu ko pu peng ku tou pu ying
Tao Te Ching - Chapter 81
|In Flowers the Cherry Blossom, In Men the Samurai||花は櫻木人は武士|
|hana wa sakuragi hito wa bushi|
|盆栽||bon sai / bonsai||pén zāi / pen2 zai1 / pen zai / penzai||p`en tsai / pentsai / pen tsai|
|7. Right Mindfulness|
|正念||sei nen / seinen||zhèng niàn|
|Star||星||hoshi||xīng / xing1 / xing||hsing|
|koori / kori||bīng / bing1 / bing||ping|
|Buddhism||仏教||bukkyou / bukyo|
|Law of the Fist Karate|
|拳法唐手||ken pou kara te|
ken po kara te
|quán fǎ táng shǒu|
quan2 fa3 tang2 shou3
quan fa tang shou
|ch`üan fa t`ang shou
chüan fa tang shou
|Musashi||武蔵||mu sashi / musashi|
|Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance||年年有餘|
|nián nián yǒu yú|
nian2 nian2 you3 yu2
nian nian you yu
|nien nien yu yü
|shào lín sì quán fǎ|
shao4 lin2 si4 quan2 fa3
shao lin si quan fa
|shao lin ssu ch`üan fa
shao lin ssu chüan fa
|gǎn xìng gōng xué|
gan3 xing4 gong1 xue2
gan xing gong xue
|kan hsing kung hsüeh
|shī fu / shi1 fu / shi fu / shifu||shih fu / shihfu|
|Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight||七転八起||shichi ten hakki / nana korobi ya oki|
shichi ten haki / nana korobi ya oki
|Taidō||躰道||tai dou / taidou / tai do / taido|
|麒麟||kirin||qí lǐn / qi2 lin3 / qi lin / qilin||ch`i lin / chilin / chi lin|
|Double Happiness Guest Book||囍|
|xǐ / xi3 / xi||hsi|
|ai ki do / aikido||hé qì dào|
he2 qi4 dao4
he qi dao
|ho ch`i tao
ho chi tao
|拳法||kenpou / kenpo||quán fǎ / quan2 fa3 / quan fa / quanfa||ch`üan fa / chüanfa / chüan fa|
|Guanxi||關繫 / 関繫 / 關係|
关系 / 関係
|kankei||guān xì / guan1 xi4 / guan xi / guanxi||kuan hsi / kuanhsi|
|Tiger Rumor||三人成虎||sān rén chéng hǔ|
san1 ren2 cheng2 hu3
san ren cheng hu
|san jen ch`eng hu
san jen cheng hu
|Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks||百折不撓|
|hyaku setsu su tou|
hyaku setsu su to
|bǎi zhé bù náo|
bai3 zhe2 bu4 nao2
bai zhe bu nao
|pai che pu nao
|Mountain Travels Poem by Dumu||遠上寒山石徑斜白雲生處有人家停車坐愛楓林晚霜葉紅於二月花|
|yuǎn shàng hán shān shí jìng xiá bái yún shēng chù yǒu rén jiā tíng chē zuò ài fēng lín wǎn shuàng yè hóng yú èr yuè huā|
yuan3 shang4 han2 shan1 shi2 jing4 xia2 bai2 yun2 sheng1 chu4 you3 ren2 jia1 ting2 che1 zuo4 ai4 feng1 lin2 wan3 shuang4 ye4 hong2 yu2 er4 yue4 hua1
yuan shang han shan shi jing xia bai yun sheng chu you ren jia ting che zuo ai feng lin wan shuang ye hong yu er yue hua
|yüan shang han shan shih ching hsia pai yün sheng ch`u yu jen chia t`ing ch`e tso ai feng lin wan shuang yeh hung yü erh yüeh hua
yüan shang han shan shih ching hsia pai yün sheng chu yu jen chia ting che tso ai feng lin wan shuang yeh hung yü erh yüeh hua
|Better Late Than Never||亡羊補牢猶未為晚|
|wáng yáng bǔ láo yóu wèi wéi wǎn|
wang2 yang2 bu3 lao2 you2 wei4 wei2 wan3
wang yang bu lao you wei wei wan
|wang yang pu lao yu wei wei wan
|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.
Successful Chinese Character and Japanese Kanji calligraphy searches within the last few hours...
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.
Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.
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