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10. Eternal Love
11. Soul Mates
12. Sing / Singing
14. No Worries
20. Flying / Flight
24. Love and Honor
26. Thug Life
33. No Fear
39. Live Free or Die
41. Balance / Peace
44. Filial Piety
45. Birth / Life
47. Glory and Honor
至愛 can mean the best love or most sincere love of your life.
This could be a romantic love such as the love you have for your spouse or a boyfriend / girlfriend.
It can also apply to the extreme love you have for your children or a parent, and maybe a really good friend.
See Also: I Love You
It's a little strange as calligraphy, but 至 would be the character which means "best" or "extreme" in Chinese and Korean.
The problem is, this is seldom used alone. It's mostly used in combination with other characters to make words like "best friend," "best food," and "best love."
I do not recommend this character for a wall scroll. It's better if you find a more specific term that fits your circumstances.
Note: This can be pronounced in Japanese and has similar meaning but it is rarely if ever used in modern Japanese.
Get to the point quickly with the fewest words possible is the suggestion of this Chinese proverb.
But taking it deeper, there is a warning that using too many words may act to "tip your hat" or "show your hand" (to use two American idioms).
It can also be said that using many words does not make the message have more value.
少說為佳 is really about the art of brevity.
Now my only hope is that I did not use too many words to explain this proverb.
最愛 is a Japanese word that means the best love, beloved, or most sincere love of your life.
This could be a romantic love such as the love you have for your spouse or a boyfriend/girlfriend.
It can also apply to the extreme love you have for your children or a parent, and maybe a really good friend.
This literally translates as: [About] matters [that] don't concern [you], do not open [your] mouth, [and] when questioned, always shake [your] head "No."
Figuratively, this means: It is best to remain reticent about other people's affairs and to refuse to make any comment on matters that don't concern you.
樂天 is about being optimistic and also making the best of whatever life throws at you.
樂天 / 楽天 is hard to define. One dictionary defines this as, "acceptance of fate and happy about it." There is one English word equivalent which is sanguinity or sanguinary.
You can also say that this means, "Be happy with whatever Heaven provides," or "Find happiness in whatever fate Heaven bestows upon you." 樂天 suggests being an optimist in life.
Note: 樂天 / 楽天 is sometimes a given name in China.
追尋幸福 is the best way to translate the English phrase "pursuit of happiness" into Chinese.
The first two characters mean "to pursue," "to track down," or "to search for."
The last two mean happiness, happy, or blessed.
See Also: Follow Your Dreams
專用 is the kind of dedication you might have to your job, or a person.
Trivia: It is the same word used as an adjective in front of the word for "network" to say "dedicated network" in Chinese.
Please note: While this is a word in Korean, the meaning is private or "exclusive use." So this is best if your audience is Chinese.
永恆的愛 is the best way to write "Eternal Love" in Chinese.
The first two characters mean eternal, eternally, everlasting, and/or perpetual.
The third character is a possessive article which sort of makes this selection mean "Love of the eternal kind."
The last character is "love."
This version is best if your audience is Chinese. We also have a Japanese version of eternal love.
It was tough to find the best way to say "soul mates" in Chinese. We settled on this old way to say "A couple selected by heaven."
The first two characters together mean "natural" or "innate." Separated, they mean "heaven" and "born." The last two characters mean "couple." So this can be translated as "A couple that is together by nature," or "A couple brought together by heaven's decree," with a slight stretch, you could say "A couple born together from heaven."
It's a struggle to find the best way to describe this idea in English but trust me, it is pretty cool and it is a great way to say "soulmates."
If you're in a happy relationship or marriage and think you have found your soul mate, this would be a wonderful wall scroll to hang in your home.
唱 is how to refer to singing or song in Chinese.
In Japanese the meaning is similar but more closely means chant, recite or yell. Best if your audience in Chinese.
誠 means truth, faith, fidelity, sincerity, trust and/or confidence.
As a single-character wall scroll, this suggests that you believe "honesty is the best policy," as your personal philosophy.
This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here
My Australian friends always say "No worries mate." It's caught on with me, though I drop the "mate" part since it confuses my fellow Americans.
If you would like to express the idea of "no worries" this is the best and most natural way to say it in Chinese.
The characters you see to the left can be translated as "put your mind at rest" or "to be at ease." You could literally translate "no worries" but it doesn't "flow" like this simple Chinese version.
For your info, the first character means to release, to free, to let go, to relax, or to rest. The second character means your heart or your mind.
Note that in Japanese and Korean, this holds the similar meaning of "peace of mind" but can also mean absentmindedness or carelessness depending on context.
均衡 means balance or equilibrium.
This title is best for a Japanese audience where the word suggests that your life is in balance in all matters (or is a reminder for you to try and keep all matters in balance).
承諾 embodies the idea commitment, but also means to make a big effort or undertaking a great task.
Commitment is caring deeply about something or someone. It is deciding carefully what you want to do, and then giving it 100%, holding nothing back. You give your all to a friendship, a task, or something you believe in. You finish what you start. You keep your promises.
In Chinese, this word directly means to undertake something or to make a promise to do something.
Outside of the commitment idea, this particular word can also mean approval, acceptance, consent, assent, acquiescence, or agreement depending on context (especially in Japanese and Korean). Therefore, this word is probably best if your audience is Chinese.
飛 is the single character for flight, flying, or to fly.
It can be a single character in Chinese and Korean Hanja. However, in Japanese, it's often understood as a female given name Fei, or used to mean a rook (shoji). 飛 is best if your audience is Chinese.
This has a good written-meaning for a wall scroll in Chinese. What I mean by that is while there is a way to say "freedom" orally, this word seems more appropriate for calligraphy. This can also be translated as "free and unfettered" from Chinese.
Note: In Korean and Japanese, this means one who rambles, saunters or strolls (this entry is best if your audience is Chinese).
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.
Diligence is working hard and doing your absolute best. You take special care by doing things step by step. Diligence helps you to get things done with excellence and enthusiasm. Diligence leads to success.
勤勉 can also be translated as industry, industrious, assiduity, assiduous, diligent, or sedulity.
情義 means to love and honor in Chinese. 情義 is more or less the kind of thing you'd find in marriage vows.
The first character suggests emotions, passion, heart, humanity, sympathy, and feelings.
In this context, the second character means to honor your lover's wishes, and treat them justly and righteously (fairly). That second character can also be translated as "obligation," as in the obligation a husband and wife have to love each other even through difficult times.
In the context outside of a couple's relationship, this word can mean "comradeship."
Japanese may see this more as "humanity and justice" than "love and honor." It's probably best if your target is Chinese.
This is the short and sweet form, there is also a longer poetic form (you can find it here: Love and Honor if it's not on the page you are currently viewing).
See Also: Love and Honor
The first chapter of Sun Tzu's Art of War lists five key points to analyzing your situation.
It reads like a 5-part military proverb. Sun Tzu says that to sharpen your skills, you must plan. To plan well, you must know your situation. Therefore, you must consider and discuss the following:
1. Philosophy and Politics: Make sure your way or your policy is agreeable among all of your troops (and the citizens of your kingdom as well). For when your soldiers believe in you and your way, they will follow you to their deaths without hesitation, and will not question your orders.
2. Heaven/Sky: Consider climate / weather. This can also mean to consider whether God is smiling on you. In the modern military, this could be waiting for clear skies so that you can have air support for an amphibious landing.
3. Ground/Earth: Consider the terrain in which the battle will take place. This includes analyzing defensible positions, exit routes, and using varying elevation to your advantage. When you plan an ambush, you must know your terrain, and the best location from which to stage that ambush. This knowledge will also help you avoid being ambushed, as you will know where the likely places in which to expect an ambush from your enemy.
4. Leadership: This applies to you as the general, and also to your lieutenants. A leader should be smart and be able to develop good strategies. Leaders should keep their word, and if they break a promise, they should punish themselves as harshly as they would punish subordinates. Leaders should be benevolent to their troops, with almost a fatherly love for them. Leaders must have the ability to make brave and fast decisions. Leaders must have steadfast principles.
5. [Military] Methods: This can also mean laws, rules, principles, model, or system. You must have an efficient organization in place to manage both your troops and supplies. In the modern military, this would be a combination of how your unit is organized, and your SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).
Notes: This is a simplistic translation and explanation. Much more is suggested in the actual text of the Art of War (Bing Fa). It would take a lot of study to master all of these aspects. In fact, these five characters can be compared to the modern military acronyms such as BAMCIS or SMEAC.
CJK notes: I have included the Japanese and Korean pronunciations but in Chinese, Korean and Japanese, this does not make a typical phrase (with subject, verb, and object) it is a list that only someone familiar with Sun Tzu's writings would understand.
暴徒生活 is probably the best way to say "Thug Life" in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
It's a strange title to be sure, so expect native Asian people to be confused when they see your Thug Life calligraphy.
The first two characters mean bandit, thug, ruffian, insurgent, rioter, or mob.
The last two characters mean life, live, or living.
The first character means "strong," "solid," "firm," "unyielding" or "resolute."
The second character means "to beat," "to endure," or "to tolerate."
Together they speak of the strength from within yourself. Some may also translate this as "long-suffering" in a more Biblical sense.
堅忍 is a common term in Chinese and Korean Hanja but a little less commonly used in modern Japanese Kanji. For that reason, this selection is best if your audience is Chinese or Korean.
Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese will tend to write the second Kanji a little differently. If you select our Japanese master calligrapher, please expect the form where the little horizontal stroke crosses the vertical stroke. See differences in the images to the right. Technically, they are both the same character, and will be read the same in either language.
想像力 is probably the best way to express "imagination" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
It literally means "your strength to imagine." As the last character means strength or ability, while the first two mean imagine or conceptualize. My Japanese dictionary defines this as, "The power of imagination." While my Korean dictionary says, "imaginative power."
In Chinese, old Korean Hanja, and old Japanese Kanji, this word means "etiquette" or "courtesy."
You'll also find a Japanese entry on our website which uses a modern/simplified first Kanji. The characters shown here compose the best choice if your audience is Chinese or Korean - but also acceptable if you want an ancient-style Japanese scroll.
Note: This can also be translated as propriety, decorum, or formality.
In Japanese, this word means "manners," "courtesy" or "etiquette."
This also clearly means etiquette in Chinese, though the first Japanese Kanji has been "modernized" and happens to be the same as the modern Simplified Chinese version. Therefore, this word will be understood by both Japanese and Chinese people but best if your audience is mostly Japanese (Chinese people would generally prefer the ancient Traditional Chinese version).
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).
高速 means "high speed" or "in high gear" in Chinese and Japanese Kanji. In old Korean Hanja, it also means "high speed" but can also be a nickname for "rapid transit."
高速 is the best selection if you want to say "speed" in regards to your race car, race boat, or lifestyle. You need this word, which literally means "high speed," as the Asian word for "speed" alone does not suggest whether you mean fast or slow.
武術 is the very Chinese way to express "Martial Arts." Some even use this word to directly describe Kung Fu. But this is a label that fits all disciplines from Karate to Kung Fu to Taekwondo.
Note: This also means Martial Arts with the same appearance in old Korean Hanja characters and is pronounced "musul" or "musur" in Korean.
While this is best if your audience is Chinese or Korean, this also means "martial arts" in Japanese.
勇者無畏 is a complete sentence that means literally "Brave People Have No Fear" or "A Brave Person Has No Fear" (plural or singular is not implied).
We translated "No Fear" into the two variations that you will find on our website. Then we checked Chinese Google and found that others had translated "No Fear" in the exact same ways. Pick the one you like best. A great gift for your fearless friend.
See Also: Fear No Man
This title speaks of one's soul or spirit, and the capacity or strength that soul possesses.
The first two characters mean mind, heart, spirit, and/or soul.
The last two characters mean strength, capacity, or ability.
Note: Separately, these are two words in Japanese, and can be pronounced but this does not make a natural title in Japanese (best if your audience is Chinese).
This two-character word of Chinese origin means forgive or forgiveness. 寬恕 / 寛恕 is a deep kind of forgiveness from the bottom of your heart.
In a religious context, this is the kind of forgiveness that you beg God for and that God grants you.
In Korean Hanja, this can also be defined as forbearance or leniency.
In Japanese Kanji, beyond forgiveness, this can also mean magnanimity or generosity.
While we don't actively recommend Asian tattoos, this would be the forgiveness title which is best for a tattoo in most cases.
Note: The first character can also be written in the form shown to the right (especially in Japanese). If you have a preference, please let us know in the "special instructions" when you place your order.
情熱 is the Japanese word that means enthusiasm, or "passion for a cause."
In some context, this could have a meaning of being extremely fond of something, or having fondness for a cause or person.
Can also be translated as passion, zeal, ardour, or fervor.
Note: 情熱 order is not natural in Chinese. However, a typical Chinese person can guess that this is a Japanese or Korean word and also understand the intended the meaning. This selection is best if your audience is Japanese or old-school Korean.
This can be translated as the spirit or soul of a warrior. The first two characters can be translated as vigor, vitality, drive, spirit, mind, heart, mental essence and psychological component. Basically "your soul."
The second two characters mean "warrior" or literally "brave soldier/man" although some will translate this word as "hero." Therefore, this is also how to say "soul of a hero."
Note: This title is best for Chinese and old Korean. It does make sense in Japanese but is not a common or natural Kanji combination in Japanese.
We have two versions of this phrase. The only difference is the first two and last two characters are swapped. The version here suggests that you are the warrior or hero. The other version suggests that you admire or like the idea of the spirit of a warrior.
聽 means to listen, hear, and obey (depending on context).
聽 is a stand-alone word in Chinese but is usually seen in compound words in Korean. Therefore, this title is best for a Chinese audience.
The ancient form of this character is shown in the upper left. However, there is a modern Japanese Kanji version shown to the right. If you want this modern Japanese version, please let us know when you place your order.
不自由毋寧死 means, "Give me liberty or give me death," in Chinese.
This is also the best way to say, "Live free or die."
The characters break down this way:
不 = Not; none; without.
自由 = Freedom; liberty; freewill; self-determination.
毋寧 = Rather; would rather; rather be.
死 = Dead; death.
This will go nicely next to your, "Don't tread on me," flag. This phrase is known well enough in China that it's listed in a few dictionaries. Though I doubt you will find too many Chinese citizens willing to yell this on the steps of the capital in Beijing.
See Also: Death Before Dishonor
關心 means caring in Chinese.
Caring is giving love and attention to people and things that matter to you and anyone who is in need of help. When you care about people, you help them. You do a careful job, giving your very best effort. You treat people and things gently and respectfully. Caring makes the world a safer place.
Note: 關心 is also a word in Korean Hanja but in Korean, it means taking interest or concern. In Korean it's still a good word but it doesn't quite have the "caring for a person" meaning that it does in Chinese.
平 is a single-character that means balance in Chinese but it's not too direct or too specific about what kind of balance.
Chinese people often like calligraphy art that is a little vague or mysterious. In this way, you can decide what it means to you, and you'll be right.
平 is also part of a word that means peace in Chinese, Japanese and old Korean.
Some alternate translations of this single character include: balanced, peaceful, calm, equal, even, level, smooth or flat.
Note that in Japanese, this just means "level" or "flat" by itself (not the best choice for balance if your audience is Japanese).
This Chinese proverb comes from an old story from some time before 476 BC. About a man named Qi Huangyang, who was commissioned by the king to select the best person for a certain job in the Imperial Court.
Qi Huangyang selected his enemy for the job. The king was very confused by the selection but Qi Huangyang explained that he was asked to find the best person for the job, not necessarily someone that he personally liked or had a friendship with.
Later, Confucius commented on how unselfish and impartial Qi Huangyang was by saying "Da Gong Wu Si" which if you look it up in a Chinese dictionary, is generally translated as "Unselfish" or "Just and Fair."
If you translate each character, you'd have something like,
"Big/Deep Justice Without Self."
Direct translations like this leave out a lot of what the Chinese characters really say. Use your imagination, and suddenly you realize that "without self" means "without thinking about yourself in the decision" - together, these two words mean "unselfish." The first two characters serve to really drive the point home that we are talking about a concept that is similar to "blind justice."
One of my Chinese-English dictionaries translates this simply as "just and fair." So that is the short and simple version.
Note: This can be pronounced in Korean but it's not a commonly used term.
During the Warring States Period of what is now China (475 - 221 B.C.), the King of Wei was in love with war. He often fought with other kingdoms just for spite or fun.
One day, the King of Wei asked the philosopher Mencius, "I love my people, and all say I do the best for them. I move the people from famine-stricken areas to places of plenty, and transport grains from rich areas to the poor. Nobody goes hungry in my kingdom, and I treat my people far better than other kings. But why does the population of my kingdom not increase, and why does the population of other kingdoms not decrease?"
Mencius answered, "Since you love war, I will make this example: When going to war, and the drums beat to start the attack, some soldiers flee for their lives in fear. Some run 100 paces in retreat, and others run 50 steps. Then the ones who retreated 50 paces laugh and taunt those who retreated 100 paces, calling them cowards mortally afraid of death. Do you think this is reasonable?
The King of Wei answered, "Of course not! Those who run 50 paces are just as timid as those who run 100 paces."
Mencius then said, "You are a king who treats his subjects better than other kings treat their people but you are so fond of war, that your people suffer from great losses in battle. Therefore, your population does not grow. While other kings allow their people to starve to death, you send your people to die in war. Is there really any difference?"
This famous conversation led to the six-character proverb shown here. It serves as a warning to avoid hypocrisy. It goes hand-in-hand with the western phrase, "The pot calls the kettle black," or the Biblical phrase, "Before trying to remove a splinter from your neighbor's eye, first remove the plank from your own eye."
孝 represents filial piety. Some will define this in more common English as "respect for your parents and ancestors."
孝 is a subject deeply emphasized by the ancient philosophy and teachings of Confucius.
Some have included this in the list for the Bushido, although generally not considered part of the 7 core virtues of the warrior.
Note: 孝 is not the best of meanings when seen along as a single character. Some will read the single character form to mean "missing my dead ancestors." However, when written at part of Confucian tenets, or in the two-character word that means filial piety, the meaning is better or read differently (context is important for this character).
We suggest one of our other two-character filial piety entries instead of this one.
This Chinese word means "to be born" and "to give birth."
Also, it's often used to refer to life itself, and sometimes "to grow."
生 is used in a lot of compound words such as "yi sheng," which means "doctor" (literally "healer of life"), "sheng ri" which means "birthday" (literally "birth day") and "xue sheng" which means student (literally "studying life" or "learner [about] life"). Few Chinese people will think of the literal meaning when this use words like doctor and student - but it is interesting to note.
生 has the same root meaning in Korean Hanja and Japanese. However, in Japanese, there are many possible pronunciations, and this can be used to mean "raw" or "unprocessed" (as in draft beer). Therefore, not be the best if your audience is Japanese.
See Also: Vitality
This is probably the best way to express the idea of "Body, Mind and Spirit" in Chinese and old Korean Hanja. We are actually using the word for "heart" here because for thousands of years, the heart was thought to be the place where your thoughts, feelings and emotions came from. We do something similar in the west when we say "warm-hearted" or "I love you with all of my heart." In this context, heart = mind in Asian language and culture.
The very literal translation of these three characters is "body, heart & spirit" which could also be interpreted as "body mind & soul."
We have arranged these characters in this order because it simply "feels" like the proper order in the Chinese language. Word lists like this are not so common for calligraphy artwork, so we have to be careful to put them in the most natural order. It should be noted that this is not a common title in Asia, nor is it considered an actual phrase (as it lacks a clear subject, verb, and object).
In Japanese Kanji, they use an alternate form of the character for soul or spirit. If you want this using the Japanese alternate, please click on the Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above.
Japanese disclaimer: This is not a natural phrase/list in Japanese. While not totally-natural in Chinese, this word list is best if your audience is Chinese.
榮 relates to giving someone a tribute or praise. It's a little odd as a gift, so this may not be the best selection for a wall scroll.
I've made this entry just because this character is often misused as "honorable" or "keeping your honor." It's not quite the same meaning, as this usually refers to a tribute or giving an honor to someone.
榮 is often found in tattoo books incorrectly listed as the western idea of personal honor or being honorable. Check with us before you get a tattoo that does not match the meaning you are really looking for. As a tattoo, this suggests that you either have a lot of pride in yourself or that you have a wish for prosperity for you and/or your family.
In modern Japanese Kanji, glory and honor looks like the image to the right.
There is a lot of confusion about this character, so here are some alternate translations for this character: prosperous, flourishing, blooming (like a flower), glorious beauty, proud, praise, rich, or it can be the family name "Rong." The context in which the character is used can change the meaning between these various ideas.
In the old days, this could be an honor paid to someone by the Emperor (basically a designation by the Emperor that a person has high standing).
To sum it up: 榮 has a positive meaning, however, it's a different flavor than the idea of being honorable and having integrity.
万歲 is the modern Japanese way to write banzai.
We've made two almost identical entries for this word, with just a variation on the first character. In the last century, 萬 was simplified to 万 in Japan and China. The new generation will expect it to be written as 万 but the old generation can still read the more traditional 萬 form. You must make your own determination as to what version is best for you. If your audience is mostly Japanese, I suggest 万歲.
While it has become a popular if not an odd thing to scream as you jump out of an airplane (preferably with a parachute attached), banzai is actually a very old Asian way to say "hooray." The Japanese word "banzai" comes from the Chinese word "wan sui" which means "The age of 10,000 years." It is actually a wish that the Emperor or the Empire live that long.
Imagine long ago as the Emperor made a rare public appearance. 万歲 is what all of the people would yell to their leader in respect.
So if you like is as a hooray, or you want to wish someone that they live for 10,000 years, this is the calligraphy for you.
To other things with banzai in their names; I am still waiting for the promised sequel to Buckaroo Banzai.
Other translations: hurrah, long life, congratulations, cheers, live long.
Notes: Sometimes people confuse banzai with bonsai. A bonsai is a miniature tree. They have nothing to do with each other. Further, bonzai is not a word at all - although it would make a great name for a calcium supplement for older people.
龜 is the generic term for turtle in Chinese, and old Korean Hanja. It's like saying "turtle" (or "tortoise") without being specific about species of turtle.
Please note that there are many special characters in Chinese and a few in Japanese that denote specific species of turtle, and do not include this character. We can't possibly cover all of these species but if you want a certain one, such as "loggerhead" or a "leatherback," just contact me and I'll do my best to research your special species.
If you noticed, I said species names that do not include this character. 龜 is because, in much the same way we can do it in English by just saying, "loggerhead," instead of "loggerhead turtle," the same can be done in Chinese and Japanese.
This may be hard to believe but the image shown to the right is an alternate version of this character, which is currently used in Japan. This was originally an alternate form in ancient China for turtle - but it's so obscure now, that most Chinese people would just think this is the Japanese version of turtle (I did a lot of research on this). The version shown in the upper left is traditional Chinese (also used in Korea, prior to 100 years ago). It will generally not be recognized by the new generation of Japanese people. If your audience is Japanese, please click on the Kanji image shown to the right to have the calligrapher write that version (instead of clicking the button above).
Note: In Japanese, this Kanji is also a representation of long life. This is related to the fact that a tortoise can live for hundreds of years.
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.
This both means and sounds like "Islam" in Mandarin Chinese.
The first three characters sound like the word "Islam," and the last character means "religion" or "teaching." It's the most general term for "Islam" in China. The highest concentration of Muslims in China is Xinjiang (the vast region in northwest China that was called The East Turkistan Republic until 1949 and is sometimes called Chinese Turkistan, Uyghuristan). Here you will find Uygurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz and others that are descendants of Turkmen (possibly mixed with Persians and Arabs). Many of their ancestors were traders who traveled the silk road to buy and sell spices, silk, and exchange other goods from the Orient and the Middle East.
I spent some time in Xinjiang and got to know this community. They are strong people who can endure much. They are friendly and love to have a good time. I was a stranger but treated by villagers (near China's border with Afghanistan) as if I was a good friend.
However, I have heard that it's best not to cross them, as in this land, the law is the blade, and everything is "eye for an eye." The Chinese government has little control in Xinjiang with almost no police officers except in the capital of Urumqi (so it's a 60-hour roundtrip train ride to seek the aid of law enforcement in most cases).
While few seem to be devout, there are at least small mosques in every village. And you will never see a man or woman outside without a head covering.
It should be noted that these people are all citizens of China, but they are officially of the Caucasian race. A visit to Xinjiang will change your idea what it means to be Chinese.
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.
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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|
Most Sincere Love
|zhì ài / zhi4 ai4 / zhi ai / zhiai||chih ai / chihai|
|Best||至||shi||zhì / zhi4 / zhi||chih|
|Brevity: Fewer Words are Best||少說為佳|
|shǎo shuō wéi jiā|
shao3 shuo1 wei2 jia1
shao shuo wei jia
|shao shuo wei chia
Most Sincere Love
|Mind Your Own Business||不干己事不張口一問搖頭三不知|
|bù gān jǐ shì bù zhāng kǒu yī wèn yáo tóu sān bù zhī|
bu4 gan1 ji3 shi4 bu4 zhang1 kou3 yi1 wen4 yao2 tou2 san1 bu4 zhi1
bu gan ji shi bu zhang kou yi wen yao tou san bu zhi
|pu kan chi shih pu chang k`ou i wen yao t`ou san pu chih
pu kan chi shih pu chang kou i wen yao tou san pu chih
Happy With Your Fate
|樂天 / 楽天|
|raku ten / rakuten||lè tiān / le4 tian1 / le tian / letian||le t`ien / letien / le tien|
|Together Forever in Love||永遠愛在一起|
|yǒng yuǎn ài zài yī qǐ|
yong3 yuan3 ai4 zai4 yi1 qi3
yong yuan ai zai yi qi
|yung yüan ai tsai i ch`i
yung yüan ai tsai i chi
|Pursuit of Happiness||追尋幸福|
|zhuī xún xìng fú|
zhui1 xun2 xing4 fu2
zhui xun xing fu
|chui hsün hsing fu
|yǒng héng de ài|
yong3 heng2 de ai4
yong heng de ai
|yung heng te ai
|tiān shēng yí duì|
tian1 sheng1 yi2 dui4
tian sheng yi dui
|t`ien sheng i tui
tien sheng i tui
|唱||chàng / chang4 / chang||ch`ang / chang|
|makoto||chéng / cheng2 / cheng||ch`eng / cheng|
|No Worries||放心||houshin / hoshin||fàng xīn / fang4 xin1 / fang xin / fangxin||fang hsin / fanghsin|
|Excellence||卓越||taku etsu / takuetsu||zhuó yuè / zhuo2 yue4 / zhuo yue / zhuoyue||cho yüeh / choyüeh|
|均衡||kin kou / kinkou / kin ko / kinko||héng / jun1 heng2 / jun heng / junheng||chün heng / chünheng|
|shoudaku / shodaku||chéng nuò|
|ài xīn / ai4 xin1 / ai xin / aixin||ai hsin / aihsin|
|永||ei||yǒng / yong3 / yong||yung|
|hi / fei||fēi / fei1 / fei|
|To Be Free|
|shou you / shouyou / sho yo / shoyo||xiāo yáo / xiao1 yao2 / xiao yao / xiaoyao||hsiao yao / hsiaoyao|
|光||hikari||guāng / guang1 / guang||kuang|
|Diligence||勤勉||kinben||qín miǎn / qin2 mian3 / qin mian / qinmian||ch`in mien / chinmien / chin mien|
|Love and Honor||情義|
|qíng yì / qing2 yi4 / qing yi / qingyi||ch`ing i / chingi / ching i|
|Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis||道天地將法|
|dou ten chi shou hou|
do ten chi sho ho
|dào tiān dì jiàng fǎ|
dao4 tian1 di4 jiang4 fa3
dao tian di jiang fa
|tao t`ien ti chiang fa
tao tien ti chiang fa
|Thug Life||暴徒生活||bou to sei katsu|
bo to sei katsu
|bào tú shēng huó|
bao4 tu2 sheng1 huo2
bao tu sheng huo
|pao t`u sheng huo
pao tu sheng huo
|ken nin / kennin||jiǎn rěn / jian3 ren3 / jian ren / jianren||chien jen / chienjen|
|xiǎng xiàng lì|
xiang3 xiang4 li4
xiang xiang li
|hsiang hsiang li
|lǐ yì / li3 yi4 / li yi / liyi||li i / lii|
|礼儀 / 禮儀|
|rei gi / reigi||lǐ yì / li3 yi4 / li yi / liyi||li i / lii|
|hari ryou hou|
hari ryo ho
|zhēn liáo fǎ|
zhen1 liao2 fa3
zhen liao fa
|chen liao fa
|Speed||高速||kousoku / kosoku||gāo sù / gao1 su4 / gao su / gaosu||kao su / kaosu|
|bujutsu||wǔ shù / wu3 shu4 / wu shu / wushu|
|yǒng zhě wú wèi|
yong3 zhe3 wu2 wei4
yong zhe wu wei
|yung che wu wei
Strength of Spirit
|jīng shén lì liàng|
jing1 shen2 li4 liang4
jing shen li liang
|ching shen li liang
|Forgive||寬恕 / 寛恕|
|kan jo / kanjo||kuān shù / kuan1 shu4 / kuan shu / kuanshu||k`uan shu / kuanshu / kuan shu|
Passion for a Cause
|jou netsu / jounetsu / jo netsu / jonetsu||qíng rè / qing2 re4 / qing re / qingre||ch`ing je / chingje / ching je|
|Soul of a Warrior||精神勇士||jīng shén yǒng shì|
jing1 shen2 yong3 shi4
jing shen yong shi
|ching shen yung shih
听 / 聴
|chou / ki / cho / ki / cho / ki||tīng / ting1 / ting||t`ing / ting|
|Live Free or Die||不自由毋寧死|
|bú zì yóu wú nìng sǐ|
bu2 zi4 you2 wu2 ning4 si3
bu zi you wu ning si
|pu tzu yu wu ning ssu
|guān xīn / guan1 xin1 / guan xin / guanxin||kuan hsin / kuanhsin|
|平||hira||píng / ping2 / ping||p`ing / ping|
|Unselfish: Perfectly Impartial||大公無私|
|dà gōng wú sī|
da4 gong1 wu2 si1
da gong wu si
|ta kung wu ssu
|The one who retreats 50 paces mocks the one to retreats 100||五十步笑百步||wù shí bù xiào bǎi bù|
wu4 shi2 bu4 xiao4 bai3 bu4
wu shi bu xiao bai bu
|wu shih pu hsiao pai pu
|Filial Piety||孝||kou / ko||xiào / xiao4 / xiao||hsiao|
|生||shou / iku / sho / iku / sho / iku||shēng / sheng1 / sheng|
|Mind, Body and Spirit||身心靈 / 身心霊|
|mi shin rei|
|shēn xīn líng|
shen1 xin1 ling2
shen xin ling
|shen hsin ling
|Glory and Honor||榮|
荣 / 栄
|ei||róng / rong2 / rong||jung|
|Banzai||万歲 / 萬歲|
|banzai||wàn suì / wan4 sui4 / wan sui / wansui|
龟 / 亀
|kame||guī / gui1 / gui||kuei|
|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
|yī sī lán jiào|
yi1 si1 lan2 jiao4
yi si lan jiao
|i ssu lan chiao
|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
|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.
Some people may refer to this entry as Do Your Best Kanji, Do Your Best Characters, Do Your Best in Mandarin Chinese, Do Your Best Characters, Do Your Best in Chinese Writing, Do Your Best in Japanese Writing, Do Your Best in Asian Writing, Do Your Best Ideograms, Chinese Do Your Best symbols, Do Your Best Hieroglyphics, Do Your Best Glyphs, Do Your Best in Chinese Letters, Do Your Best Hanzi, Do Your Best in Japanese Kanji, Do Your Best Pictograms, Do Your Best in the Chinese Written-Language, or Do Your Best in the Japanese Written-Language.
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