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Rather die than compromise
寧死不屈 is often translated as “Death Before Dishonor.”
The literal translation is more like, “Better die than compromise.” The last two characters mean “not to bend” or “not to bow down.” Some might even say that it means “not to surrender.” Thus, you could say this proverb means “Better to die than live on my knees” or simply “no surrender” (with the real idea being that you would rather die than surrender).
寧死不降 is an ancient Chinese proverb that can be translated as “Rather die than surrender,” “Prefer death over surrender,” “To prefer death to surrender,” or simply “No surrender.”
This is probably the closest proverb to the English proverb “Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.”
This ancient Japanese proverb can be translated as “The principle of honorable death and no surrender,” or simply “No surrender.”
If you directly translate this, you get something that means “Doctrine of suicide,” or “Ideology of honorable death.”
玉砕主義 is a specifically-Japanese proverb that embraces the long history of honorable suicide or self-sacrifice for honor in Japanese culture.
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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|
|Death Before Surrender||寧死不屈|
|níng sǐ bù qū|
ning2 si3 bu4 qu1
ning si bu qu
|ning ssu pu ch`ü
ning ssu pu chü
|Death Before Surrender||寧死不降|
|nìng sǐ bù xiáng|
ning4 si3 bu4 xiang2
ning si bu xiang
|ning ssu pu hsiang
|Honorable Death - No Surrender||玉砕主義||gyokusai shugi |
|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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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.
Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.
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