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  1. Prudence / Considerate

  2. Prudence

  3. Seeing is Believing

  4. Simplicity / Modesty

  5. Fix roof before the rain;...

  6. Ethics / Ethical / Morality

  7. Keep Your Feet on the Ground

  8. Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened,...

  9. Moderation

10. Modesty

11. Moral and Virtuous

12. Do not take action until the time is right

13. Seeing is Believing


Prudence / Considerate

China shèn zhòng
Japan shin chou
Prudence / Considerate Vertical Wall Scroll

慎重 conveys the idea of being considerate, having prudence, and being thoughtful when taking action.

慎重 can also mean cautious, careful, discreet, deliberate, or taking all things into consideration.

The general meaning is shared across languages. However, in Chinese, this is more about prudence, while in Japanese, this is more about being considerate.

Chinese Catholics use this word to represent "prudence" in the list of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.


慎慎 Note: Depending on your choice of Chinese or Japanese calligraphers, the first Kanji will vary slightly. It is technically the same character. Japanese tend to leave a space between the upper and lower portions of this particular Kanji. See sample images to the right.


See Also:  Moderation | Modesty | Chastity

Prudence

Transliterated Name
China pǔ lǔ dēng sī
Prudence Vertical Wall Scroll

普魯登絲 is the transliteration to Mandarin Chinese for the name Prudence.

This sounds like "Prudence" but does not mean "prudence".

Seeing is Believing

Japan hyakubun wa ikken ni shikazu
Seeing is Believing Vertical Wall Scroll

This Japanese proverb is the rough equivalent of "seeing is believing," "one eye-witness is better than many hearsays," or "a picture is worth a thousand words."

Sometimes it's simply more prudent to verify with your own eyes.


Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.

Simplicity / Modesty

China zhì sù
Japan shisso
Simplicity / Modesty Vertical Wall Scroll

In Japanese this word means "simplicity," "modesty" and/or "frugality."

While these Japanese Kanji are also currently-used Chinese characters, they do not create single word or idea in Chinese. Therefore, only select this if your audience is Japanese.


See Also:  Modesty | Prudence

Fix roof before the rain;
Dig the well before you are thirsty

China bǔ lòu chèn tiān qíng wèi kě xiān jué jǐng
Fix roof before the rain; / Dig the well before you are thirsty Vertical Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: Mend the roof while the weather is fine, [and when you are] not yet thirsty, dig the well beforehand.

In simple terms, this means: Always be prepared in advance.


See Also:  Have a Walking Stick at the Ready Before You Stumble

Ethics / Ethical / Morality

China dào dé
Japan dou toku
Ethics / Ethical / Morality Vertical Wall Scroll

This Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean word can also be defined as "moral principles," morality, ethics, ethical, morals, or virtue.

The first character is the same that is associated with Daoism / Taoism. 道德 is also used to express morality, virtue, or simply morals.


徳There is a slight deviation in the Japanese Kanji form. If you want the modern Japanese version, please click on the special Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above. Note that the traditional Chinese form is still readable and understood by Japanese people.


See Also:  Chastity | Prudence

Keep Your Feet on the Ground

Be Down-to-Earth
China jiǎo tà shí dì
Keep Your Feet on the Ground Vertical Wall Scroll

This four-character proverb suggests that you should be practical, realistic, and grounded. Some translate this as a suggestion to be down-to-earth.

The first character means "feet."
The second means "step on" or "stand."
The third means "solid," "real," or "true."
The last character means "ground," "earth," or "terra."

Literally this means, "[keep your] Feet Standing [on] Solid Ground."

Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened,
Listen to One Side and be in the Dark

China jiān tīng zé míng, piān tīng zé àn
Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened, / Listen to One Side and be in the Dark Vertical Wall Scroll

This is an ancient Chinese proverb about getting all the information from all sides so that you truly understand a situation.

A man named Wei Zheng lived between 580-643 AD. He was a noble and wise historian and minister in the court of the early Tang Dynasty.

Wei Zheng

Wei Zheng

The emperor once asked him, "What should an emperor do to understand the real-world situation and what makes an emperor out-of-touch with reality?"

Wei Zheng replied, "Listen to both sides and you will be enlightened; listen to only one side and you will be left in the dark."

Then Wei Zheng went on to site examples of leaders in history that were victorious after heeding both sides of the story, and other leaders that met their doom because they believed one-sided stories which often came from flattering lips.

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.

Moderation

China jié zhì
Japan sessei
Moderation Vertical Wall Scroll

Moderation is creating a healthy balance in your life between work and play, rest and exercise. You don't overdo or get swept away by the things you like. You use your self-discipline to take charge of your life and your time.

節制 can also be translated as sobriety, self-restraint, or temperance.

節制 is often used as part of the Seven Heavenly Virtues to represent sobriety and/or temperance.


See Also:  Prudence | Ethics | Humble | Humility

Modesty

China qiān xùn
Japan kenson
Modesty Vertical Wall Scroll

Depending on context, this can be translated as modesty, humbleness or humility.

The first character means "modesty" while the second means "yielding." Together it could be stated as "yielding modesty."


See Also:  Chastity | Prudence | Moderation

Moral and Virtuous

China
Japan toku
Moral and Virtuous Vertical Wall Scroll

德 is the simple way to express the ideas of having virtue, morals, kindness, benevolence, goodness etc.

德 also happens to be the first character of the Chinese word for Germany.


徳There is a slight deviation in the Japanese Kanji form. If you want the modern Japanese version, please click on the special Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above. Note that the traditional Chinese form is still readable and understood by Japanese people.


See Also:  Ethics | Chastity | Prudence | Benevolence | Morality

Do not take action until the time is right

China bù dào huǒ hou bù jiē guō
Do not take action until the time is right Vertical Wall Scroll

This literally translates as: Don't take the lid off the pot until the food is done.

Figuratively, this means: Don't take action until the time is right.

You can take this as a call to be patient, or picking just the right time to do something (not too early, not too late).

Seeing is Believing

China bǎi wén bù rú yí jiàn
Seeing is Believing Vertical Wall Scroll

This proverb literally means "Better to see something once rather than hear about it one hundred times" or "Telling me about something 100 times is not as good as seeing it once." In English, we have the similar proverb of "Seeing is believing" but this has a bit of the "A picture paints a thousand words" meaning too.

Sometimes it's simply more prudent to verify with your own eyes.


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

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Prudence
Considerate
慎重shin chou / shinchou / shin cho / shinchoshèn zhòng
shen4 zhong4
shen zhong
shenzhong
shen chung
shenchung
Prudence普魯登絲
普鲁登丝
pǔ lǔ dēng sī
pu3 lu3 deng1 si1
pu lu deng si
puludengsi
p`u lu teng ssu
pulutengssu
pu lu teng ssu
Seeing is Believing百聞は一見に如かずhyakubun wa ikken ni shikazu
hyakubunwaikkennishikazu
hyakubun wa iken ni shikazu
hyakubunwaikennishikazu
Simplicity
Modesty
質素
质素
shisso / shisozhì sù / zhi4 su4 / zhi su / zhisuchih su / chihsu
Fix roof before the rain; Dig the well before you are thirsty補漏趁天晴未渴先掘井
补漏趁天晴未渴先掘井
bǔ lòu chèn tiān qíng wèi kě xiān jué jǐng
bu3 lou4 chen4 tian1 qing2 wei4 ke3 xian1 jue2 jing3
bu lou chen tian qing wei ke xian jue jing
pu lou ch`en t`ien ch`ing wei k`o hsien chüeh ching
pu lou chen tien ching wei ko hsien chüeh ching
Ethics
Ethical
Morality
道德
道德 / 道徳
dou toku / doutoku / do toku / dotokudào dé / dao4 de2 / dao de / daodetao te / taote
Keep Your Feet on the Ground腳踏實地
脚踏实地
jiǎo tà shí dì
jiao3 ta4 shi2 di4
jiao ta shi di
jiaotashidi
chiao t`a shih ti
chiaotashihti
chiao ta shih ti
Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened, Listen to One Side and be in the Dark兼聽則明偏聽則暗
兼听则明偏听则暗
jiān tīng zé míng, piān tīng zé àn
jian1 ting1 ze2 ming2, pian1 ting1 ze2 an4
jian ting ze ming, pian ting ze an
chien t`ing tse ming, p`ien t`ing tse an
chien ting tse ming, pien ting tse an
Moderation節制
节制
sessei / seseijié zhì / jie2 zhi4 / jie zhi / jiezhichieh chih / chiehchih
Modesty謙遜
谦逊
kensonqiān xùn / qian1 xun4 / qian xun / qianxunch`ien hsün / chienhsün / chien hsün
Moral and Virtuous
tokudé / de2 / dete
Do not take action until the time is right不到火候不揭鍋
不到火候不揭锅
bù dào huǒ hou bù jiē guō
bu4 dao4 huo3 hou bu4 jie1 guo1
bu dao huo hou bu jie guo
budaohuohoubujieguo
pu tao huo hou pu chieh kuo
putaohuohoupuchiehkuo
Seeing is Believing百聞不如一見
百闻不如一见
bǎi wén bù rú yí jiàn
bai3 wen2 bu4 ru2 yi2 jian4
bai wen bu ru yi jian
baiwenburuyijian
pai wen pu ju i chien
paiwenpujuichien
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.