Water Chinese / Japanese Calligraphy Wall Scrolls

You can choose from many options to create your custom artwork with the Chinese character / Asian symbol / Japanese Kanji for water on a wall scroll or portrait.
Start by clicking on the button next to your favorite water title below...


  1. Water

  2. Be Like Water

  3. Water Dragon / Coiled Dragon

  4. Drinking the water of a well: One should never forget who dug it

  5. Fire and Water Have No Mercy

  6. Put out a burning wood cart with a cup of water

  7. Ultimate Goodness of Water

  8. Mind Like Water

  9. Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also

10. Water Dragon / Rain Dragon

11. Be Like Water

12. Water Tiger

13. Water Polo

14. Flower in the Mirror, Moon on Water

15. Chop Wood, Carry Water

16. Earth Fire Water Air

17. Year Of The Water Rabbit

18. Year of the Water Rabbit

19. Dripping Water Penetrates Stone

20. Rain

21. Feng Shui

22. Five Elements

23. Large River

24. River

25. Warriors Adapt and Overcome


Water

(One of the five elements)

 shuǐ
 mizu / sui
 
Water Scroll

水 is the symbol for water in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.


Water is one of the five elements that ancient Chinese believed all things were composed of. These elements are also part of the cycle of Chinese astrology. Every person has both an animal sign, and one of the five elements according to the date of their birth. See also Five Elements and Chinese 12 Animals / Zodiac.

Be Like Water

 xiàng shuǐ yí yàng
Be Like Water Scroll

像水一樣 is a short quote from a much longer statement by Bruce Lee.

He summarized how people should be flexible to all circumstances, attacks, or situations. In the end, he exclaims, “Be like water, my friend.” 像水一樣 is the “Be like water” part alone since that seems to be what most people want.

Water Dragon / Coiled Dragon

 pān lóng
 han ryuu
Water Dragon / Coiled Dragon Scroll

蟠龍 is sometimes seen as a lower-level of dragon or a dragon that has not-yet-reached its potential.

蟠龍 is often defined as a “lake dragon” that has not ascended to heaven.
Another way to put that is a dragon coiled on the earth, which has not yet ascended to the sky.

Drinking the water of a well: One should never forget who dug it

 chī shuǐ bú wàng jué jǐng rén
Drinking the water of a well: One should never forget who dug it Scroll

This proverb suggests that one should always be grateful to those who helped one succeed.

And remember your ancestors and those that came before you whose sacrifices made your present life better.

Some Chinese will separate the intended meaning from this proverb and translate this as “Don't forget the people who once helped you.” In Modern China, this idiom is virtually never used to refer to an actual well.

Note: This can be pronounced in Korean but it's not a commonly used phrase.

Fire and Water Have No Mercy

 shuǐ huǒ wú qíng
Fire and Water Have No Mercy Scroll

水火無情 is a Chinese proverb that means “fire [and] water have-not mercy.”

This serves to remind us that the forces of nature are beyond human control.

Some may also translate this as “implacable fate.”

Put out a burning wood cart with a cup of water

An utterly inadequate measure

 bēi shuǐ chē xīn
Put out a burning wood cart with a cup of water Scroll

杯水車薪 is a warning against a futile effort.

This proverb literally refers to one who is “trying to put out a burning cart of wood with a cup of water,” or “throw a cup of water on a cartload of wood.” The lesson to be learned is about using the right measure or tool for the job and not wasting your effort if you are inadequately equipped for the task at hand - in other words the postscript should be “go get a bucket or a fire hose.”

Ultimate Goodness of Water

Quote from Lao Tzu

 shàng shàn ruò shuǐ
Ultimate Goodness of Water Scroll

上善若水 is a quote that is sometimes presented as “Be like water.”

However, this is an ancient quote from the great philosopher Lao Tzu. It suggests that the ultimate goodness and purity (in the world) is water. Many take this as a suggestion to be like pure/good water.

Mind Like Water

Mizu No Kokoro

 mizu no kokoro
Mind Like Water Scroll

水の心 is the Japanese Buddhist and martial arts phrase, “Mizu no Kokoro,” which means “mind like water” or “heart of water.”

The phrase is a metaphor describing the pond that clearly reflects its surroundings when calm but whose images are obscured once a pebble is dropped into its waters.

Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also

 shuǐ néng zài zhōu yì néng fù zhōu
Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also Scroll

Many things have opposite properties. The water you drink can also drown you. Pork may nourish you and keep you alive but under-cook it and it could kill you. Potassium nitrate is often used as a fertilizer to grow the food that sustains us but it's also been used as an explosive to topple buildings and destroy us.

This concept is easily associated with “yin yang” where an element has two opposite properties that are as different as night and day.

This proverb's meaning can be summed up this way: “Anything that can lead you to success may also contain great risks.”

This phrase is known in literary circles by Korean people (scholars or literature). It is therefore also a valid proverb in Korean Hanja, though most Koreans would not be able to make sense of it.

Please note that there is an unwritten rule when the same character appears twice in the same phrase, the calligrapher will alter the appearance so that no two characters are exactly alike in the same piece. This calligraphy has two repeating characters that will be written differently than they appear here.

Water Dragon / Rain Dragon

 jiāo
 kou ryuu
Water Dragon / Rain Dragon Scroll

蛟龍 is the title for the water dragon is the hornless or scaled dragon. 蛟龍 is the king of all aquatic animals with the ability to control rain and floods.

In Japanese, the rain dragon can represent hidden genius. This dragon's domain is the deep murky water, thus with hidden potential. This can also be the Japanese given name Kouryuu.

Be Like Water

Quote from Lao Tzu

 ruò shuǐ
Be Like Water Scroll

若水 is part of a very old saying from Lao Tzu.

In these two characters, there is a suggestion to be like water. The full phrase is about the goodness and purity of water. So, when this suggests being like water, it is actually a suggestion to be a good person (one who does not dishonor himself/herself, etc.).

 shuǐ hǔ
 sui ko
Water Tiger Scroll

水虎 means “water tiger” in Chinese and Japanese.

 shuǐ qiú
 sui kyuu
Water Polo Scroll

水球 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja title for water polo.

The literal meaning of the characters is “water ball.”

Flower in the Mirror, Moon on Water

 jìng huā shuǐ yuè
 kyou ka sui getsu
Flower in the Mirror, Moon on Water Scroll

鏡花水月 is an old Asian proverb that means “flowers in a mirror and the moon reflected in the lake” or “flowers reflected on a mirror and the moon reflected on the water's surface.”

Literally, 鏡花水月 reads “Mirror Flower, Water Moon.”

Figuratively this can be used to represent a lot of different ideas. It can be used to express an unrealistic rosy view or viewing things through rose-tinted spectacles. So you can use it to relay an idea about something that is visible but has no substance, something that can be seen but not touched, or something beautiful but unattainable such as dreams or a mirage.

This expression is used to describe things like the subtle and profound beauty of poems that cannot be described in words.

鏡 = Mirror (or lens)
花 = Flower(s)
水 = Water
月 = Moon


Can also be written 水月鏡花 (just a slight change in word/character order).

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Before enlightenment or after, chores remain.

 dùn wù zhī qián kǎn chái tiāo shuǐ dùn wù zhī hòu kǎn chái tiāo shuǐ
Chop Wood, Carry Water Scroll

頓悟之前砍柴挑水; 頓悟之後砍柴挑水 means “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

This is a Chinese proverb that is attributed to 吴力 (Wú Lì) who lived between 1632 and 1718 - living part of his life as a devout Buddhist, and many years as a Catholic Jesuit Priest in China - what an interesting life!

This has been explained many times in many ways. I am a Buddhist, and here is my brief take on this proverb...

Before enlightenment, one may find daily chores mundane, tedious, and boring. However, upon reaching enlightenment one is not relieved of the details of daily life. An enlightened person will, however, see such chores as a joy, and do them mindfully.


There is another version floating around, which is 在你領悟之前砍柴、運水。在你領悟之後,砍柴、運水。
If you want this other version, just contact me. The meaning is the same, just different phrasing.

Earth Fire Water Air

 yondaigenso
Earth Fire Water Air Scroll

四大元素 is the title for the four classical chemical elements (fire, earth, air, and water) in Japanese.

四大 = four great/big. 元素 = elements. So 四大元素 literally means “Four Great Elements.”

Year Of The Water Rabbit

 guǐ mǎo
 mizunotou / kibou
Year Of The Water Rabbit Scroll

癸卯 is the designation for the 40th year of the 60-year or sexagenary cycle, e.g. 1903, 1963, or 2023.

This is the year of the Water Rabbit. The characters here designate the year in a special way, but do not literally mean water and rabbit.


The 60 year cycle has 5 elements and 12 animals. As each cycles every year, the math works out to 5 x 12 = 60.

Year of the Water Rabbit

1903 1963 2023

 shuǐ tù nián
 mizu usagi toshi
Year of the Water Rabbit Scroll

水兔年 means water rabbit year.

This happens to be the combination in the 60-year cycle for the year 2023, starting on Feb 4th, 2023.

Dripping Water Penetrates Stone

 dī shuǐ chuān shí
Dripping Water Penetrates Stone Scroll

滴水穿石 is a Chinese proverb that means, dripping water penetrates stone.

The figurative meaning can be translated as:
Constant perseverance yields success.
You can achieve your aim if you try hard without giving up.
Persistent effort overcomes any difficulty.

While 滴水穿石 is the most common character order, you will likely see 水滴石穿, might see 滴水石穿, and will rarely see 小水穿石 in the wild.

 yǔ
 ame
 
Rain Scroll

雨 is how to write “rain” in Chinese. If rain is your name or has some significance to you in your life, this is the character you want.

If your name is Varṣā or Varsha, this is how your name translates into Chinese.


See Also:  Storm | Wave

 fēng shuǐ
 fuu sui
Feng Shui Scroll

風水 is the famous technique and approach to arranging your home externally around natural features and internally to create balance and peace.

These two characters literally mean “wind water.” Obviously, the title is far more simple than the concept behind this subject.

It may enlighten you slightly to know that the character for “wind” can also mean style, custom, or manner in some contexts. This may apply somewhat to this title.

In a technical sense, this title is translated as Chinese geomancy.

Five Elements

 wǔ xíng
 gogyou
Five Elements Scroll

五行 is the title of the five elements: wood, fire, water, earth, and metal.

The first character means five, and the second character is simply element(s).

According to ancient Chinese science, all matter in the world is comprised of these elements. One idea presented with the five elements is that when energy is added, the matter is believed to expand. When energy is removed, matter contracts. Oddly, this concept is not far from Einstein's theories and modern science. Just a few thousand years before Einstein.


More info: Wikipedia - Five Elements (Wu Xing).


See Also:  Wood | Fire | Earth | Metal | Five Elements

Five Elements

 jīn mù shuǐ huǒ tǔ
Five Elements Scroll

金木水火土 is a list of the Chinese characters for the five elements in a comfortable order (meaning that they “feel right” to a Chinese person who views this arrangement).

The order is metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.

Note that sometimes the metal element is translated as gold. And earth refers to soil versus the whole planet earth.

Five Elements

 chi sui ka fuu kuu
Five Elements Scroll

地水火風空 is the specifically-Japanese version of the five elements.

This is a little different than the ancient or original Chinese version.

The elements are written in this order:
1. Earth / Terra / Ground
2. Water
3. Fire
4. Wind / Air
5. Sky / Emptiness / Void / Ether

Note: This set of Kanji can also be romanized as “ji sui ka fuu kuu,” “jisuikafuukuu,” or “jisuikafuku.”


These can also be written in the order 地火風水空 (chi ka sui fuu kuu). Let me know when you place your order if you want the Kanji to be in this character order.

 jiāng
 kou
 
Large River Scroll

江 means large river in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. This generally refers to a river big enough that it's navigable by cargo boats, passenger boats, or small ships.

In Japanese, this can be a surname when pronounced as Minkou or just Kou.

 chuān
 kawa
 
River Scroll

川 means river or stream in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

In Japanese, this can be a surname when pronounced as Sakigawa.

Warriors Adapt and Overcome

Soldiers need a fluid plan

 bīng wú cháng shì shuǐ wú cháng xíng
Warriors Adapt and Overcome Scroll

This literally translates as: Troops/soldiers/warriors have no fixed [battlefield] strategy [just as] water has no constant shape [but adapts itself to whatever container it is in].

Figuratively, this means: One should seek to find whatever strategy or method is best suited to resolving each individual problem.

This proverb is about as close as you can get to the military idea of “adapt improvise overcome.” 兵無常勢水無常形 is the best way to express that idea in both an ancient way, and a very natural way in Chinese.




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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
Watermizu / suishuǐ / shui3 / shui
Be Like Water像水一樣xiàng shuǐ yí yàng
xiang4 shui3 yi2 yang4
xiang shui yi yang
xiangshuiyiyang
hsiang shui i yang
hsiangshuiiyang
Water Dragon
Coiled Dragon
蟠龍
蟠龙
han ryuu / hanryuu / han ryupān lóng / pan1 long2 / pan long / panlongp`an lung / panlung / pan lung
Drinking the water of a well: One should never forget who dug it吃水不忘掘井人chī shuǐ bú wàng jué jǐng rén
chi1 shui3 bu2 wang4 jue2 jing3 ren2
chi shui bu wang jue jing ren
chishuibuwangjuejingren
ch`ih shui pu wang chüeh ching jen
chih shui pu wang chüeh ching jen
Fire and Water Have No Mercy水火無情
水火无情
shuǐ huǒ wú qíng
shui3 huo3 wu2 qing2
shui huo wu qing
shuihuowuqing
shui huo wu ch`ing
shuihuowuching
shui huo wu ching
Put out a burning wood cart with a cup of water杯水車薪
杯水车薪
bēi shuǐ chē xīn
bei1 shui3 che1 xin1
bei shui che xin
beishuichexin
pei shui ch`e hsin
peishuichehsin
pei shui che hsin
Ultimate Goodness of Water上善若水shàng shàn ruò shuǐ
shang4 shan4 ruo4 shui3
shang shan ruo shui
shangshanruoshui
shang shan jo shui
shangshanjoshui
Mind Like Water水の心mizu no kokoro
mizunokokoro
Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also水能載舟亦能覆舟
水能载舟亦能覆舟
shuǐ néng zài zhōu yì néng fù zhōu
shui3 neng2 zai4 zhou1 yi4 neng2 fu4 zhou1
shui neng zai zhou yi neng fu zhou
shui neng tsai chou i neng fu chou
Water Dragon
Rain Dragon
蛟龍
蛟龙
kou ryuu / kouryuu / ko ryujiāo
jiao1 long2
jiao long
jiaolong
chiao lung
chiaolung
Be Like Water若水ruò shuǐ / ruo4 shui3 / ruo shui / ruoshuijo shui / joshui
Water Tiger水虎sui ko / suikoshuǐ hǔ / shui3 hu3 / shui hu / shuihu
Water Polo水球sui kyuu / suikyuu / sui kyushuǐ qiú / shui3 qiu2 / shui qiu / shuiqiushui ch`iu / shuichiu / shui chiu
Flower in the Mirror, Moon on Water鏡花水月
镜花水月
kyou ka sui getsu
kyoukasuigetsu
kyo ka sui getsu
jìng huā shuǐ yuè
jing4 hua1 shui3 yue4
jing hua shui yue
jinghuashuiyue
ching hua shui yüeh
chinghuashuiyüeh
Chop Wood, Carry Water頓悟之前砍柴挑水頓悟之后砍柴挑水
顿悟之前砍柴挑水顿悟之后砍柴挑水
dùn wù zhī qián kǎn chái tiāo shuǐ dùn wù zhī hòu kǎn chái tiāo shuǐ
dun4 wu4 zhi1 qian2 kan3 chai2 tiao1 shui3 dun4 wu4 zhi1 hou4 kan3 chai2 tiao1 shui3
dun wu zhi qian kan chai tiao shui dun wu zhi hou kan chai tiao shui
tun wu chih ch`ien k`an ch`ai t`iao shui tun wu chih hou k`an ch`ai t`iao shui
tun wu chih chien kan chai tiao shui tun wu chih hou kan chai tiao shui
Earth Fire Water Air四大元素yondaigenso
Year Of The Water Rabbit癸卯mizunotou / kibou
mizunoto / kibo
guǐ mǎo / gui3 mao3 / gui mao / guimaokuei mao / kueimao
Year of the Water Rabbit水兔年mizu usagi toshi
mizuusagitoshi
shuǐ tù nián
shui3 tu4 nian2
shui tu nian
shuitunian
shui t`u nien
shuitunien
shui tu nien
Dripping Water Penetrates Stone滴水穿石dī shuǐ chuān shí
di1 shui3 chuan1 shi2
di shui chuan shi
dishuichuanshi
ti shui ch`uan shih
tishuichuanshih
ti shui chuan shih
Rainameyǔ / yu3 / yu
Feng Shui風水
风水
fuu sui / fuusui / fu suifēng shuǐ
feng1 shui3
feng shui
fengshui
Five Elements五行gogyou / gogyowǔ xíng / wu3 xing2 / wu xing / wuxingwu hsing / wuhsing
Five Elements金木水火土jīn mù shuǐ huǒ tǔ
jin1 mu4 shui3 huo3 tu3
jin mu shui huo tu
jinmushuihuotu
chin mu shui huo t`u
chinmushuihuotu
chin mu shui huo tu
Five Elements地水火風空
地水火风空
chi sui ka fuu kuu
chisuikafuukuu
chi sui ka fu ku
Large Riverkou / kojiāng / jiang1 / jiangchiang
Riverkawachuān / chuan1 / chuanch`uan / chuan
Warriors Adapt and Overcome兵無常勢水無常形
兵无常势水无常形
bīng wú cháng shì shuǐ wú cháng xíng
bing1 wu2 chang2 shi4 shui3 wu2 chang2 xing2
bing wu chang shi shui wu chang xing
ping wu ch`ang shih shui wu ch`ang hsing
ping wu chang shih shui wu chang hsing
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.


Many custom options...


Warriors Adapt and Overcome Scroll
Warriors Adapt and Overcome Scroll
Warriors Adapt and Overcome Scroll
Warriors Adapt and Overcome Scroll


And formats...

Warriors Adapt and Overcome Vertical Portrait
Warriors Adapt and Overcome Horizontal Wall Scroll
Warriors Adapt and Overcome Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

Lookup in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary

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.


A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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.

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.