Complex ideogram translation, please

Other Chinese or Japanese calligraphy issues that does not seem to fit any of the categories above.
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Bluehawk
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Complex ideogram translation, please

Post by Bluehawk » Oct 6, 2011 10:11 am

The following ideogram appears carved into a curved rectangular piece of bamboo, suspended from red knotted cord, from which is also suspended a very long red tassel. It is a beautiful thing, but we have no idea about what the ideogram represents or says!

Can anyone please translate for the family? Here is a rubbing we took from it:
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Thank you

Post by Bluehawk » Oct 8, 2011 11:36 am

I appreciate the 31+ members who have taken a look at this thread, and will keep checking to see if anyone can identify it someday.

At college I was privileged to study Japanese brush writing as a student of the famed SONY video engineer, Mr. Shuya Abe - at 6AM every Saturday at a southern California art school.

I learned a great deal about life from those lessons... but, this particular ideogram is a genuine puzzler to me.

It appears to have 3 or 4 parts, and many more strokes than I have seen in a single character before.

Again, thanks...

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Chinese?

Post by Bluehawk » Oct 8, 2011 5:40 pm

I am assuming that this character comes from a Chinese artifact, because of its complexity (I've not ever seen such a thing in Kanji), and because of the long red tassles and elaborate knotting attached to it.

As a guess, it makes me think it was some sort of commemorative gift.

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A facsimile

Post by Bluehawk » Oct 8, 2011 5:44 pm

It very closely resembles this piece but with the bamboo plaque where the knotting appears in this photo, the whole being roughly 24" in length from top to bottom.
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Post by Bluehawk » Oct 8, 2011 5:51 pm

This image resembles what we have, except that the bamboo plaque is much smaller having only one character on it, and the bottom tassels are much longer:
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Update

Post by Bluehawk » Oct 9, 2011 6:43 am

43 of you have now taken a look at this, and that is truly appreciated.

I guess the ideogram IS rather complicated! :shock:

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eternal hope

Post by Bluehawk » Oct 10, 2011 8:41 am

58 have viewed this thread thus far, so that gives me hope.

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Post by Cat » Oct 10, 2011 10:43 pm

The pencil rubbing is actually four characters written into one:
provoke/to recruit
money/prosperity
coming in
treasureTreasure

The four characters written on the bamboo piece are (from left to right):

Happiness / Joy(these two together means "congratulations/greetings")

(these two together means "get rich")

Both of the phrases are commonly used when greeting people during Chinese New Year. They are also often seen in Chinese restaurants or stores in America or HongKong, Taiwan and Mainland China.

-Cat.

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Post by Bluehawk » Oct 11, 2011 6:26 am

Bless you Cat... thanks so much.

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Post by Cat » Oct 11, 2011 10:00 pm

You are very welcome :) Glad to help :)

-Cat.

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Post by Bluehawk » Oct 12, 2011 6:32 am

You are very welcome :) Glad to help :)

-Cat.
I did make my own feeble attempt to sort it out, character by character, even counting strokes and trying to put basic characters together with other ones - but now that I see your translation, separating each identity of the four characters, there is no possible way I could ever have come up with it without your knowledge.

You have a wonderful talent...

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Gary
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Post by Gary » Oct 12, 2011 1:42 pm

These are really tough ones. Basically, you need a native Chinese person to decipher it. In this case, she was really busy with a new job, so it took longer than intended to get a reply to you.

I've been studying Chinese for about 9 years now, and I can decipher these special and complex characters. In fact, most of the time, I can only read printed Chinese text (such as magazines and newspapers). As soon as it's too stylized or handwritten, I'm lost.

-Gary.

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Post by Cat » Oct 12, 2011 9:25 pm

Hehehe...in my case, it only took 27 years live in China to get to this "talent"... ;)

Anyway, I'm really appreciate your praise ;) but I think it's more like a good luck instead of talent, you happened to ask a commonly used character in modern Chinese. :)

-Cat.

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:-)

Post by Bluehawk » Oct 13, 2011 5:56 am

"... you happened to ask a commonly used character in modern Chinese."

Yikes

I shudder to imagine what an UNcommon character might look like!

The experience of learning a relatively tiny fraction of Japanese calligraphy was, in the lifetime light of 65 years, among the most memorable ever. But clearly it gave me no reason to dream that I was on the path to translation.

Thank you again, for yours and sharing it.
"Honi soit, qui mal y pense"

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Post by Cat » Oct 15, 2011 9:17 pm

"...I shudder to imagine what an UNcommon character might look like! "

[img]

This is one of them...and there are hundreds more... ;) (It doesn't need millions of strokes to make the characters hard to read... it all depends on what style...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_script) :)

-Cat.[/img]
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fonts?

Post by Bluehawk » Oct 16, 2011 6:29 am

If not mistaken, Japanese term that signet seal, and I recognize the characters as being (again, if not mistaken) the earliest or a very early form of writing. Of course, there are a number of styles of those as well.

No doubt though, if one were able to decipher these individual meanings, then presumably the styles which followed would be more readily translatable?

This is a beautiful font example called Tensho
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"Honi soit, qui mal y pense"

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Post by Gary » Oct 17, 2011 10:33 am

Well, signet is not a Japanese word, so that can't be technically correct.

These are often called chops, seals, or stamps in English. You can add the word "signature" or "personal" as an adjective depending on the content and intended use of the chop. Some of them are not "signet" chops, as they may contain a philosophy, idiom, or even the character for an artist's favorite or birth-year animal, but not a signature or name.

Tensho is the romanization for a Japanese word that means "seal script". In Chinese, that was zhuanshu. From Chinese, "shu" became "sho", and the character for "zhuan" was borrowed into Japanese where it became "ten". Most calligraphy style titles and ancient objects are written the same in Chinese and Japanese (since more than 90% of the writing system of Japanese was borrowed from Chinese around the 5th century).

When you talk about seal script, you have to realize it's a writing system dating back to before 221 B.C.
It was the writing system of the day. But just like today's handwriting, everyone had their own style or variations. Some of these were lost over time, and it's hard to trace back when a certain character was written a certain way over 2200 years ago in a small village in a small kingdom that was later destroyed by the Qin Army with all books and scrolls burned.

But tensho / zhuanshu / seal script is not the earliest form of writing in China. That would be bronze script (jinwen). These characters were really the pictographs (like Egyptian hieroglyphics) that led to the creation of a standard set of Chinese characters.

Here's an example:

This is the seal script for turtle:


But here's the bronze script version:


And here's the modern printed kaisho / kaishu / regular script version:
Turtle

Keeping track of all of this is really a challenge. It's hard to find native Chinese and Japanese who have more than a basic knowledge of this. In fact, I've heard it said in a CCTV documentary that only a handful of Chinese historians can fluently read seal script in the entire world.

There's your educational tidbit for the day.

Cheers,
-Gary.

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complaceny

Post by Bluehawk » Oct 17, 2011 10:52 am

"It's hard to find native Chinese and Japanese who have more than a basic knowledge of this..."

I guess they have the same problem the rest of us do...

Fascinating, all in all.
"Honi soit, qui mal y pense"

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