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8. Soul Mates
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.
喜 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and Korean Hanja for the kind of happiness known in the west as "joy".
喜 can also be translated as rejoice, enjoyment, delighted, pleased, or "take pleasure in". Sometimes it can mean, "to be fond of" (in a certain context).
If you write two of these happiness/joy characters side by side, you create another character known in English as "double happiness", which is a symbol associated with weddings and a happy marriage.
There is another version of this character that you will find on our website with an additional radical on the left side (exactly same meaning, just an alternate form). The version of happiness shown here is the commonly written form in China, Japan and South Korea (banned in North Korea).
愛 universally means love in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, old Korean Hanja, and old Vietnamese.
愛 is one of the most recognized Asian symbols in the west and is often seen on tee-shirts, coffee mugs, tattoos, and more.
愛 can also be defined as affection, to be fond of, to like, or to be keen on. It often refers to romantic love, and is found in phrases like, "I love you". But in Chinese, one can say, "I love that movie" using this character as well.
This can also be a pet-name or part of a pet-name in the way we say "dear" or "honey" in English.
More about this character:
This may be hard to imagine as a westerner but the strokes at the top of this love character symbolize family & marriage.
The symbol in the middle is a little easier to identify. It is the character for "heart" (it can also mean "mind" or "soul"). I guess you can say that no matter if you are from the East or the West, you must put your heart into your love.
The strokes at the bottom create a modified character that means "friend" or "friendship."
I suppose you could say that the full meaning of this love character is to love your family, spouse, and friends with all of your heart, since all three elements exist in this character.
This means "Happy Golden Anniversary" and is a great gift for a couple who is celebrating 50 years together.
The first two characters mean happy, blessed, or happiness.
The last two characters mean, "couple's golden anniversary". It literally means "golden wedding" or "golden marriage" but this is only used for the 50-year-mark of a marriage (the same way we use gold to represent 50 years in the west).
幸福金婚 is a nice title to use with an inscription. You could request something like, "Happy 50th Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Smith", to be written down the side of this title, in smaller Chinese characters.
Please note: This can be pronounced and understood in Japanese but not as commonly used in Japan. Japanese people who read this will understand it but might tend to feel it’s of Chinese origin.
琴瑟和鳴 is a Chinese title that means, "in perfect harmony" or "in sync".
This can translate as, "two harps in harmony". While this more literally means, "qin [and] se harmonious sound".
The qin and se are both types of string instruments (Chinese zithers) that are known to play in perfect harmony. Thus, the two together are often used as a metaphor for marital harmony or a happy marriage.
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.
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|
|Happy Marriage||夫婦円満||fuufuenman / fufuenman|
|100 Years of Happy Marriage||百年好合||bǎi nián hǎo hé|
bai3 nian2 hao3 he2
bai nian hao he
|pai nien hao ho
|xǐ / xi3 / xi||hsi|
|喜||ki / yorokobi||xǐ / xi3 / xi||hsi|
|ai||ài / ai4 / ai|
|50th Golden Wedding Anniversary||幸福金婚 / 倖福金婚|
|kou fuku kin kon|
ko fuku kin kon
|xìng fú jīn hūn|
xing4 fu2 jin1 hun1
xing fu jin hun
|hsing fu chin hun
|qín sè hé míng|
qin2 se4 he2 ming2
qin se he ming
|ch`in se ho ming
chin se ho ming
|tiān shēng yí duì|
tian1 sheng1 yi2 dui4
tian sheng yi dui
|t`ien sheng i tui
tien sheng i tui
|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.
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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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