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河東獅吼 is actually a proverb and joke about the plight and fear of a hen-pecked husband.
In more ancient times it was used to describe a wife who would berate her husband or go into jealous rages. However, this phrase currently brings about ideas of a husband that cowers in fear and cringes when his wife screams (or roars) at him.
Please only purchase this as a good-natured joke. If your wife or husband does not have a good sense of humor, it's probably not a good idea to hang this on your wall just to irritate your mate.
In China, this proverb is used in response to a good joke or witty comment.
The story goes that Mr. Feng and Mr. He were both senior officials in the Song Dynasty (about a thousand years ago). One day, Mr. Feng walked into their shared office wearing a new pair of boots. The boots caught the eye of Mr. He who said, "New boots! - how much were they?". Mr. Feng lifted one of the boots off the ground as if to show it off and responded, "900 coins".
Astonished, Mr. Feng explained, "900? How can that be? - I paid 1800 coins for my boots!". Mr. Feng then lifted his other foot off the ground and said, "This boot was also 900 coins".
It is said that the whole room was shaking from the laughter of all that heard Mr. Feng's joke on Mr. He.
This literally translates as: [If one does] not do bad things in the daytime, one need not be alarmed at knocks on the door in the middle of the night.
The meaning is something like, "A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder". Basically, the message is, "don't commit crimes and you won't be jumpy every time the doorbell rings (so don't do anything wrong and your life will have fewer worries and you can sleep at night)".
This speaks to the cunning character of a sly rabbit. Such a rabbit will not have just one hole but rather a few entrances and exits from his liar.
About 2,250 years ago a very rich man told his assistant to go and buy something wonderful that he did not yet posses. He was a man that already had everything, so the assistant went to a local village that owed a great deal of money to the rich man. The assistant told the village elders that all debts were forgiven. All the villagers rejoiced and praised the rich man's name. The assistant returned to the rich man and told him he had purchased "benevolence" for him. The rich man was mildly amused but perhaps a bit confused by the action.
Some time later, the rich man fell from the favor of the Emperor, and was wiped out without a penny to his name. One day he was walking aimlessly and stumbled into the village in which the debts had been forgiven. The villagers recognized the man and welcomed him with open arms, clothed, fed, and gave him a place to live.
Without trying, the man had become like the sly and cunning rabbit. When his exit was blocked, he had another hole to emerge from - and was reborn. This story and idiom comes from a book titled "The Amendment" - it's unclear whether this man actually existed or not. But the book did propel this idiom into common use in China.
Still today this idiom about the rabbit is used in China when suggesting "backup plans" alternate methods, and anyone with a good escape plan.
This can be translated as "roar of laughter", "loud laughter", "hearty laugh" or "cachinnation".
The first character means big or great, and the second character means laugh or smile.
If you like humor, this is a great wall scroll to hang in your home.
See Also: The Whole Room Rocks With Laughter
樂 is a single-character form of happiness or bliss that holds the ideas of laughing and having a good time.
This can also be translated as happy, glad, enjoyable, fun, and sometimes, music.
This a really good character if your audience is Chinese.
樂 / 楽 is not a word seen alone very often in Korean.
In Japanese, this character is written like the image shown to the right. If you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, it will look like this instead of the character shown above.
Note: In Japanese, this has a meaning of comfort, ease, and enjoyment.
See Also: Joyfulness
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Sense of Humor||笑いの壺||warainotsubo|
|Roar of the Lioness||河東獅吼|
|hé dōng shī hǒu|
he2 dong1 shi1 hou3
he dong shi hou
|ho tung shih hou
|The Whole Room Rocks With Laughter||哄堂大笑||hōng tāng dà xiào|
hong1 tang1 da4 xiao4
hong tang da xiao
|hung t`ang ta hsiao
hung tang ta hsiao
|One Who Does Not Do Bad Things, Worries Not of Knocks at His Door||白天不做虧心事夜半敲門不吃驚|
|bái tiān bú zuò kuī xīn shì yè bàn qiāo mén bù chī jīng|
bai2 tian1 bu2 zuo4 kui1 xin1 shi4 ye4 ban4 qiao1 men2 bu4 chi1 jing1
bai tian bu zuo kui xin shi ye ban qiao men bu chi jing
|pai t`ien pu tso k`uei hsin shih yeh pan ch`iao men pu ch`ih ching
pai tien pu tso kuei hsin shih yeh pan chiao men pu chih ching
|A sly rabbit has three openings to its den||狡兔三窟||jiǎo tù sān kū|
jiao3 tu4 san1 ku1
jiao tu san ku
|chiao t`u san k`u
chiao tu san ku
|Roar of Laughter|
|大笑||taishou / taisho||dà xiào / da4 xiao4 / da xiao / daxiao||ta hsiao / tahsiao|
|樂 / 楽|
|raku||lè / le4 / le|
|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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