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...
11. Be Like Water
12. Water Tiger
13. Water Polo
15. Feng Shui
16. Five Elements
17. Large River
水 is the symbol for water in Japanese and Chinese.
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.
象水一樣 is a short quote from a much longer statement by Bruce Lee.
He was summarizing how people should be flexible to all circumstances, attacks, or situations. At the end, he exclaims, "Be like water my friend". 象水一樣 is the, "Be like water" part alone, since that seems to be what most people want.
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.
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 to waste 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".
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 it's surroundings when calm but whose images are obscured once a pebble is dropped into its waters.
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.
This title for 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.
若水 is part of a very old saying from Lao Tzu.
It 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).
水球 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja title for water polo.
The literal meaning of the characters is "water ball".
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 context. This may apply somewhat to this title.
In a very technical sense, this title is translated as "Chinese geomancy".
五行 is the title of the five elements which are: wood, fire, water, earth, and metal.
The first character means "5" and the second character is simply "elements".
According to ancient Chinese science, all matter in the world is made up of these elements. One idea presented with the five elements is that when energy is added, 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).
金木水火土 is a list of the Chinese characters for the five elements in a comfortable order (meaning that they simply "feel right" to a Chinese person who views this arrangement).
The order is metal, wood, water, fire, earth.
Note that sometimes the metal element is translated as gold. And earth refers to soil versus the whole planet earth.
地水火風空 is the specifically-Japanese version of the five elements.
地水火風空 is a little different than the ancient or original Chinese version.
The elements are written in this order:
1. Earth / Terra / Ground
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.
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.
川 means river or stream in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
In Japanese, this can be a surname when pronounced as Sakigawa.
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". This is 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||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Water||水||mizu / sui||shuǐ / shui3 / shui|
|Be Like Water||象水一樣|
|xiàng shuǐ yí yàng|
xiang4 shui3 yi2 yang4
xiang shui yi yang
|hsiang shui i yang
|han ryuu / hanryuu / han ryu / hanryu||pān lóng / pan1 long2 / pan long / panlong||p`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
|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|
|shuǐ huǒ wú qíng|
shui3 huo3 wu2 qing2
shui huo wu qing
|shui huo wu ch`ing
shui huo wu ching
|Put out a burning wood cart with a cup of water||杯水車薪|
|bēi shuǐ chē xīn|
bei1 shui3 che1 xin1
bei shui che xin
|pei shui ch`e hsin
pei shui che hsin
|Ultimate Goodness of Water||上善若水||shàng shàn ruò shuǐ|
shang4 shan4 ruo4 shui3
shang shan ruo shui
|shang shan jo shui
|Mind Like Water||水の心||mizu no kokoro|
|Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also||水能載舟亦能覆舟|
|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|
|kou ryuu / kouryuu / ko ryu / koryu||jiāo|
|Be Like Water||若水||ruò shuǐ / ruo4 shui3 / ruo shui / ruoshui||jo shui / joshui|
|Water Tiger||水虎||sui ko / suiko||shuǐ hǔ / shui3 hu3 / shui hu / shuihu|
|Water Polo||水球||sui kyuu / suikyuu / sui kyu / suikyu||shuǐ qiú / shui3 qiu2 / shui qiu / shuiqiu||shui ch`iu / shuichiu / shui chiu|
|Rain||雨||ame||yǔ / yu3 / yu||yü|
|fuu sui / fuusui / fu sui / fusui||fēng shuǐ|
|Five Elements||五行||gogyou / gogyo||wǔ xíng / wu3 xing2 / wu xing / wuxing||wu hsing / wuhsing|
|Five Elements||金木水火土||jīn mù shuǐ huǒ tǔ|
jin1 mu4 shui3 huo3 tu3
jin mu shui huo tu
|chin mu shui huo t`u
chin mu shui huo tu
|chi sui ka fuu kuu|
chi sui ka fu ku
|Large River||江||kou / ko||jiāng / jiang1 / jiang||chiang|
|River||川||kawa||chuān / chuan1 / chuan||ch`uan / chuan|
|Warriors Adapt and Overcome||兵無常勢水無常形|
|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.
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.