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The Red Thread of Fate in Chinese / Japanese...

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The Red Thread of Fate

China yīn yuán hóng xiàn
The Red Thread of Fate Vertical Wall Scroll

姻緣紅線 is the legendary red string of destiny that binds all soul mates or lovers together.

In ancient Chinese culture, a mythological matchmaker named 月老 (Yuè Lǎo) was the controller of the fate that led lovers to meet. He did this by tying a celestial red string to the ankle of each person. Sometime during their life, they will meet and marry as fate dictates.

While the origin of the red string comes from China, it has spread to other parts of Asia (such as Japan where it's known as 赤い糸).

The Red String

Thread of Lover's Destiny / Fate
Japan akai ito
The Red String Vertical Wall Scroll

This literally translates as, "the red string" or "the red thread" in Japanese but the real meaning is much deeper...

In Japanese culture, it's believed that fate, destiny, or karma joins lovers by an unseen string, tied around one little finger of each. 赤い糸 is how soul mates fine and are drawn to each other.

The Japanese concept of the red thread of fate, by most estimations, comes from Chinese folklore, where it's known as 姻緣紅線. The only difference being that in China, the celestial red thread is tied around the ankles of the lovers (versus what is usually represented to be the pinky finger in Japan).

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The Red String Vertical Wall Scroll
The Red String Vertical Wall Scroll
The Red String Vertical Wall Scroll
The Red String Vertical Wall Scroll


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The Red String Vertical Portrait
The Red String Horizontal Wall Scroll
The Red String Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

Lookup The Red Thread of Fate in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary




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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
The Red Thread of Fate姻緣紅線
姻缘红线
yīn yuán hóng xiàn
yin1 yuan2 hong2 xian4
yin yuan hong xian
yinyuanhongxian
yin yüan hung hsien
yinyüanhunghsien
The Red String赤い糸akai ito / akaiito
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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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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A professional Chinese Calligrapher

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.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

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.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

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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