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紅 is a single character that means red in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
The perceived meaning of this character can be ambiguous. Most will see it as the color red but it can also mean Communist (just like it can in English). In Japanese, it can be a female given name "Rena", or refer to red silk lining. In Chinese, red is a good luck color, and can refer to a bonus or revolutionary.
紅五蝠 is a play on words in Chinese because of some homophones.
The first thing you need to know is that the word for bat, 蝠, sounds exactly like the word for good fortune, 福. Thus, bats are often associated with good luck and good fortune in Chinese culture.
Five bats (五福 / 五蝠) means "five fortunes" referring to luck, prosperity, wealth, happiness, and longevity.
The word red, 红, has the same sound as 宏 meaning vast, great, or magnificent. Therefore, a red bat means "vast fortune".
Altogether, five red bats represent vast reaches of the five fortunes.
囍 is a common gift for Chinese couples getting married or newly married couples.
As we say in the west, "Two heads are better than one" Well, in the east, two "happinesses" are certainly better than one.
Some will suggest this is a symbol of two happinesses coming together. Others see it as a multiplication of happiness because of the union or marriage.
囍 is not really a character that is pronounced very often - it's almost exclusively used in written form. However, if pressed, most Chinese people will pronounce this "shuang xi" (double happy) although literally there are two "xi" characters combined in this calligraphy (but nobody will say "xi xi").
If you select this character, I strongly suggest the festive bright red paper for your calligraphy. Part of my suggestion comes from the fact that red is a good luck color in China, and this will add to the sentiment that you wish to convey with this scroll to the happy couple.
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.
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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|
|beni||hóng / hong2 / hong||hung|
|Five Red Bats||紅五蝠|
|hóng wǔ fú|
hong2 wu3 fu2
hong wu fu
|hung wu fu
|xǐ / xi3 / xi||hsi|
|Double Happiness Guest Book||囍|
|xǐ / xi3 / xi||hsi|
|In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.|
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.
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All of our calligraphy wall scrolls are handmade.
When the calligrapher finishes creating your artwork, it is taken to my art mounting workshop in Beijing where a wall scroll is made by hand from a combination of silk, rice paper, and wood.
After we create your wall scroll, it takes at least two weeks for air mail delivery from Beijing to you.
Allow a few weeks for delivery. Rush service speeds it up by a week or two for $10!
When you select your calligraphy, you'll be taken to another page where you can choose various custom options.
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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