Friday, May 27, 2005

Condo Tiles

Reader Michael Bolduc emails:

"Tian, I am a realtor and these are in a condo a client of mine wants to buy. He's not wild about the tile mosaic around these tiles and is considering removing the whole thing. These tiles are on the facing of the breakfast bar. Do they say what is reported in English? Thanks for your help."

I have never seen "family" is referred as "". Usually is translated as "family".

= also, too; likewise
= make; work; compose, write; act, perform

Despite the poor calligraphy, this tile was my personal favorite. The character shown is the simplified version of , which means "hot". Mixing the Chinese character with the English caption, the tile is "hot love". This tile would be a good sell on eBay.

Bad calligraphy, correct characters and translation.

=luck(ily), favor, fortunately
= happiness, good fortune, blessing

This one is correct as well.

= life, living, lifetime; birth
= long; length; excel in; leader


  1. I'm not even Chinese (just an interested American), but Christ almighty that is some goddamn awful calligraphy.

  2. In Japanese, 赤作 could be read as "red composition", because 赤 is "red" and 作 is the kanji used for "to make", "make", as well as one of the two kanji in "author", and is used when talking about "making dinner".

  3. Kyle, take another look. That's not 赤.

  4. That sure is some ugly calligraphy.

    The first one is literally "also do" or "also work". It's NOT "family". Seems like it's been taken from a longer sentence...

  5. 亦作 is used as "also as", for example,

    「奇花異卉」,亦作 (also seen as)「異卉奇花」、「奇花異草」。

  6. My lord, I'm a white boy with only had a year of Chinese under my belt, but I'd shoot myself if I wrote characters that badly

  7. Oxford English Dictionary defines calligraphy as: "Beautiful or fair writing as a product; also, elegant penmanship as an art or profession." Root word is 'kallos', beauty. There's got be some other word for this ... anyone know the Greek word for 'ugly'?


  8. 'Kakos' is "bad," I believe; not sure about "ugly." I'll dig up my old Greek textbook and check.

    As soon as I saw 亦作, I thought that they must've gotten it from a dictionary definition. My ex has a blog entry about a guy who got a tattoo saying "美语亦作"...

  9. κάλλος means "beautiful".

    However, its opposity is κακός, which means "ugly" as well as "evil", "base", and "wretched". As backing for my claim that it also means "ugly", here is a line from the Illiad: εἶδος μὲν ἔην κακός Il.10.316

    As you probably suspected, γράφω is the verb "to write".

    I suppose that makes ugly writing "kakigraphy".

  10. Or "cacography" (cf. "cacophony"). The characters are poorly written by any standard.
    I agree that 亦作 means "also [written/seen] as." It is often used in textual commentaries.

  11. Oh MAN that's bad. *rubs eyes*

    The only connection my kanjified mind can make is perhaps the person who wrote on the tiles heard 'kazoku' (Japanese for family) as 'kasaku' and just snagged the most sensible sounding characters for it.