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3. Filial Piety
祖先崇拜 means "Appreciation and honor of your ancestors." This can refer to anyone from your grandparents and beyond.
The first two characters mean ancestors or forefathers.
The last two characters mean adore, worship, adoration, or admiration.
祖先崇拜 is the kind of wall scroll that a filial son or daughter in China or Japan would hang to honor their ancestors who paved the way for the new generation.
Japanese use a slight variation on the last Kanji. If you want this specifically Japanese version, just click on the Kanji image to the right (instead of the button above). Note that Japanese people would easily be able to identify the original Chinese form of that Kanji anyway.
They also have a similar phrase in old Korean but the first two characters are reversed - just let me know if you want that version when you place your order.
五祖拳 is a martial arts concept (or school) known as Five Ancestors' Fist.
The first character means five.
The second means ancestor, forefather, or grandparents.
The third means fist.
The ancestors referred to by this title and whose attributes contribute to this style are as follows:
1. Grace of the White Crane.
2. Agility of the Monkey.
3. Precision and skill of Emperor Taizu (great mythical ancestor).
4. Power of Luohan (Buddhist arhat).
5. Breath of Damo (founder of Buddhism, or the first Buddha).
孝 represents filial piety. Some will define this in more common English as "respect for your parents and ancestors."
孝 is a subject deeply emphasized by the ancient philosophy and teachings of Confucius.
Some have included this in the list for the Bushido, although generally not considered part of the 7 core virtues of the warrior.
Note: 孝 is not the best of meanings when seen along as a single character. Some will read the single character form to mean "missing my dead ancestors." However, when written at part of Confucian tenets, or in the two-character word that means filial piety, the meaning is better or read differently (context is important for this character).
We suggest one of our other two-character filial piety entries instead of this one.
鶴 is a famous bird of China. Known in China to be a very spiritual creature, the crane is a symbol of both longevity, and the journey of souls and spirits of ancestors.
Note: 鶴 can mean crane or stork in Japanese.
These two characters express the idea of filial piety or filial conduct. The second character suggests "action" so these are the actions you take to show your respect and obedience to your elders or ancestors.
Confucius is probably the first great advocate for filial piety.
These two characters most clearly express the Confucian philosophy of filial piety. Confucius taught that all should be respectful and obedient to their parents. Included in this idea is honoring your ancestors.
The second character is "dao/tao" or "the way" as in Taoism. You can say this title is "The Tao of Filial Piety" or "The Way of Filial Piety."
See Also: Confucius
This proverb suggests that one should always be grateful to those who helped you 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.
阮 / 阮 is the original Chinese character that represented the Vietnamese surname Nguyễn before Vietnam stopped using Chinese characters and romanized their language. It is probably the most common surname in all of Vietnam. While romanized as Nguyen, it sounds more like the English word "Win" or "When." 阮 / 阮 can also represent the Nguyen Dynasty in Vietnam which lasted from 1802 to 1945.
阮 / 阮 is also the Chinese surname Ruan, most Chinese with this surname have ancestors from a small state named Ruan during the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) located in the southeast of modern-day Gansu Province.
In Japanese, this can be the rare surnames pronounced Min, Gen, Ken, Gan, or En.
Besides a surname, this character also represents an ancient musical instrument.
This can be translated literally as "Southern School Praying Mantis" or "Southern Style Praying Mantis."
Despite its name, the Southern Praying Mantis style of Chinese martial arts is unrelated to the Northern Praying Mantis style. Southern Praying Mantis is instead related most closely to fellow Hakka styles such as Dragon and more distantly to the Fujian family of styles that includes Fujian White Crane, Five Ancestors, and Wing Chun.
This style of martial arts focuses more on fighting skills rather than aesthetics.
Of course, you already knew that if you were looking for this term.
Note: This title can be pronounced and does have meaning in Korean but only to Koreans familiar with Chinese martial arts.
This both means and sounds like "Islam" in Mandarin Chinese.
The first three characters sound like the word "Islam," and the last character means "religion" or "teaching." It's the most general term for "Islam" in China. The highest concentration of Muslims in China is Xinjiang (the vast region in northwest China that was called The East Turkistan Republic until 1949 and is sometimes called Chinese Turkistan, Uyghuristan). Here you will find Uygurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz and others that are descendants of Turkmen (possibly mixed with Persians and Arabs). Many of their ancestors were traders who traveled the silk road to buy and sell spices, silk, and exchange other goods from the Orient and the Middle East.
I spent some time in Xinjiang and got to know this community. They are strong people who can endure much. They are friendly and love to have a good time. I was a stranger but treated by villagers (near China's border with Afghanistan) as if I was a good friend.
However, I have heard that it's best not to cross them, as in this land, the law is the blade, and everything is "eye for an eye." The Chinese government has little control in Xinjiang with almost no police officers except in the capital of Urumqi (so it's a 60-hour roundtrip train ride to seek the aid of law enforcement in most cases).
While few seem to be devout, there are at least small mosques in every village. And you will never see a man or woman outside without a head covering.
It should be noted that these people are all citizens of China, but they are officially of the Caucasian race. A visit to Xinjiang will change your idea what it means to be Chinese.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Honor for Ancestors||祖先崇拜|
祖先崇拜 / 祖先崇拝
|so sen suu hai|
so sen su hai
|zǔ xiān chóng bài|
zu3 xian1 chong2 bai4
zu xian chong bai
|tsu hsien ch`ung pai
tsu hsien chung pai
|Five Ancestors Fist||五祖拳||wǔ zǔ quán|
wu3 zu3 quan2
wu zu quan
|wu tsu ch`üan
wu tsu chüan
|Filial Piety||孝||kou / ko||xiào / xiao4 / xiao||hsiao|
|qīn yuán / qin1 yuan2 / qin yuan / qinyuan||ch`in yüan / chinyüan / chin yüan|
|gaku / tsuru||hè / he4 / he||ho|
|孝行||koukou / koko||xiào xìng|
|The Dao of Filial Piety||孝道||kou dou / koudou / ko do / kodo||xiào dào / xiao4 dao4 / xiao dao / xiaodao||hsiao tao / hsiaotao|
|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
|ch`ih shui pu wang chüeh ching jen
chih shui pu wang chüeh ching jen
|阮 / 阮|
|Min / Gen||ruǎn / ruan3 / ruan||juan|
|Southern Praying Mantis||南派螳螂||nán pài táng láng|
nan2 pai4 tang2 lang2
nan pai tang lang
|nan p`ai t`ang lang
nan pai tang lang
|yī sī lán jiào|
yi1 si1 lan2 jiao4
yi si lan jiao
|i ssu lan chiao
|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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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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