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Used in modern times for divorced couples that come back together
破鏡重圓 is about a husband and wife who were separated and reunited.
About 1500 years ago in China, there lived a beautiful princess named Le Chang. She and her husband Xu De Yan loved each other very much. But when the army of the Sui Dynasty was about to attack their kingdom, disposed of all of their worldly possessions and prepared to flee into exile.
They knew that in the chaos, they might lose track of each other, so the one possession they kept was a bronze mirror which is a symbol of unity for a husband and wife. They broke the mirror into two pieces, and each of them kept half of the mirror. They decided that if separated, they would try to meet at the fair during the 15th day of the first lunar month (which is the lantern festival). Unfortunately, the occupation was brutal, and the princess was forced to become the mistress of the new commissioner of the territory, Yang Su.
At the Lantern Festival the next year, the husband came to the fair to search for his wife. He carried with him his half of the mirror. As he walked through the fair, he saw the other half of the mirror for sale at a junk market by a servant of the commissioner. The husband recognized his wife's half of the mirror immediately, and tears rolled down his face as he was told by the servant about the bitter and loveless life that the princess had endured.
As his tears dripped onto the mirror, the husband scratched a poem into his wife's half of the mirror:
You left me with the severed mirror,
The mirror has returned, but absent are you,
As I gaze in the mirror, I seek your face,
I see the moon, but as for you, I see not a trace.
The servant brought the inscribed half of the mirror back to the princess. For many days, the princess could not stop crying when she found that her husband was alive and still loved her.
Commissioner Yang Su, becoming aware of this saga, realized that he could never obtain the princess's love. He sent for the husband and allowed them to reunite.
This proverb, 破鏡重圓, is now used to describe a couple who has been torn apart for some reason (usually divorce) but have come back together (or remarried).
It seems to be more common these days in America for divorced couples to reconcile and get married to each other again. This will be a great gift if you know someone who is about to remarry their ex.
夫婦 are the Chinese characters, old Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji for “Husband and Wife.”
This can also be translated as a married couple, spouses, couple, or pair.
This is not a common selection for a calligraphy wall scroll in Asia but if it has a special meaning for you, go for it.
表壯不如里壯 literally translates as: [Better to be] strong inside than [to be] strong outside.
The ancient original meaning was:
[An] able [husband] outside [working to support a family is] not as good as [an] able [wife] inside [working and saving to take care of the family].
The current meaning is:
Inner strength is more important than outward appearance.
姻緣 means “Destiny that brings lovers together.” It can also be translated technically as “Predestined matrimonial affinity” (wow, talk about taking the romance out of this word - that was from the Oxford C-E dictionary).
This speaks to the fate (or karma) that brings a husband and wife together. I would translate this as “Together by fate” or “Joined by destiny” but in the context of marriage. You could use this for non-married lovers, but the first character has a suggestion that this refers to those that are married.
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
戀人 means lover, sweetheart, or beloved in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
This term is gender-neutral, so that anyone can use it.
In modern Japan and China, the first character has been simplified. We suggest the traditional version, as shown above if your audience is Chinese or Korean. However, this generation of Japanese are more likely to recognize the simplified version. If you want this simple (modern Japanese) version, please click on the image shown to the right, instead of the button above.
愛人 means lover, sweetheart, spouse, husband, wife, or beloved in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
The first character means “love,” and the second means “person.”
This title can be used in many different ways, depending on the context. Husbands and wives may use this term for each other. But, if you change the context, this title could be used to mean “mistress.” It's pretty similar to the way we can use “lover” in many different ways in English.
In modern Japan, this lover title has slipped into the definition of mistress and is not good for a wall scroll.
戀心 literally means “loving heart.” It can also be translated as “one's love” or “awakening of love.”
戀心 is used exclusively for love between boyfriends and girlfriends or husband and wife.
Breaking down the meaning of each Kanji, the first means love, affection, or tender passion. The second Kanji means heart, mind, or soul (most will read it as the heart).
河東獅吼 is actually a proverb and joke about the plight and fear of a hen-pecked husband.
In 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 to irritate your mate.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Romaji (Romanized Japanese)
|Various forms of Romanized Chinese
|Broken Mirror Rejoined
|pò jìng chóng yuán
po4 jing4 chong2 yuan2
po jing chong yuan
|p`o ching ch`ung yüan
po ching chung yüan
|fuufuenman / fufuenman
|Husband and Wife
|fuu fu / fuufu / fu fu
|fū fù / fu1 fu4 / fu fu / fufu
|Inner Strength is Better than Outward Appearance
|biǎo zhuàng bù rú lǐ zhuàng
biao3 zhuang4 bu4 ru2 li3 zhuang4
biao zhuang bu ru li zhuang
|piao chuang pu ju li chuang
|The Karma/Fate/Destiny that Brings Lovers Together
|yīn yuán / yin1 yuan2 / yin yuan / yinyuan
|yin yüan / yinyüan
|Love and Honor
|qíng yì / qing2 yi4 / qing yi / qingyi
|ch`ing i / chingi / ching i
|koi bito / koibito
|liàn rén / lian4 ren2 / lian ren / lianren
|lien jen / lienjen
|ai jin / aijin
|ài ren / ai4 ren / ai ren / airen
|ai jen / aijen
|koi gokoro / koigokoro
|The Roar of the Lioness
|hé dōng shī hǒu
he2 dong1 shi1 hou3
he dong shi hou
|ho tung shih hou
|hūn / hun1 / hun
|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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