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Here's the full proverb, with the first and second parts.
However, in Chinese, it's more natural to put the "tooth" part first, so this more accurately reads "Tooth for a tooth, eye for an eye".
If revenge is important to you, I suppose this is the phase you want on your wall.
This phase often goes with "An eye for an eye", even in Chinese. Revenge seems to cross all languages, cultures, and even species (animals are known to take revenge too).
If a Chinese person uses just one part of the full proverb, it will be this "tooth for a tooth" one. Although, we are more likely to say "eye for an eye" alone in English.
Chinese people may also read this with a meaning of "Bite me and I will bite you back". However, it literally means "tooth for a tooth" or "you take my tooth, I take yours".
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth||以牙還牙以眼還眼|
|yǐ yá huán yá yǐ yǎn huán yǎn|
yi3 ya2 huan2 ya2 yi3 yan3 huan2 yan3
yi ya huan ya yi yan huan yan
|i ya huan ya i yen huan yen
|Tooth for a tooth||以牙還牙|
|yǐ yá huán yá|
yi3 ya2 huan2 ya2
yi ya huan ya
|i ya huan ya
|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.
Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your eye for an eye tooth for a tooth search...
If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese
|Simple Dictionary Definition|
| gēn / gen1
ne / ね
root; basis; classifier for long slender objects, e.g. cigarettes, guitar strings; CL:條|条[tiao2]; radical (chemistry)
(1) root (of a plant); (2) root (of a tooth, hair, etc.); center (of a pimple, etc.); (3) root (of all evil, etc.); source; origin; cause; basis; (4) one's true nature; (5) (fishing) reef; (personal name) Nemawari
mūla, a root, basis, origin; but when meaning an organ of sense, indriyam, a 'power', 'faculty of sense, sense, organ of sense'. M.W. A root, or source; that which is capable of producing or growing, as the eye is able to produce knowledge, as faith is able to bring forth good works, as human nature is able to produce good or evil karma. v. 五根 and 二十二根; faculties
| hǔ yá / hu3 ya2
koga / こが
(coll.) eye tooth (maxillary canine tooth)
|dougaihoufuku / dogaihofuku / どうがいほうふく||
(principle of) an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; lex talionis; equal retaliation
| yǐ yǎn huán yǎn , yǐ yá huán yá / yi3 yan3 huan2 yan3 , yi3 ya2 huan2 ya2
i yen huan yen , i ya huan ya
an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth (idiom); fig. to use the enemy's methods against him; to give sb a taste of his own medicine
|me / め||(1) eye; eyeball; (2) (See 目が見える) eyesight; sight; vision; (3) look; stare; gaze; glance; (4) notice; attention; observation; eyes (of the world, public, etc.); (5) an experience; (6) viewpoint; (7) discrimination; discernment; judgement; eye (e.g. for quality); (8) appearance; (9) (See 目がない・3) chance to succeed; possibility; (10) (See 編み目) spacing (between crossed strands of a net, mesh, etc.); opening; stitch; texture; weave; (11) grain (of wood); (12) eye (of a storm, needle, etc.); (13) intersection (on a go board); square (on a chess board); (14) dot (on a dice); pip; rolled number; (15) graduation; division (of a scale); (16) tooth (of a saw, comb, etc.); (suffix) (17) ordinal number suffix; (suffix) (18) (kana only) (See 大きめ) somewhat; -ish; (suffix) (19) (following -masu stem) (See 変わり目・1) point (e.g. of change)|
|menihameohanihahao / めにはめをはにははを||
(expression) (from Matthew 5:38) an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth
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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.
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