Monday, March 12, 2012

Back in 2005, I saw a photo in Flickr titled "Cindy, a beautiful canvas."

Fast forward to 2012, Dr. Victor Mair met the young lady in person:

So I asked Cindy what she thought the tattooed symbols running down her neck and spine meant. She replied:

The bottom two were supposed to be success… then respect.

Oh well. Works either way. It is what it is. You can put whatever name you want.

Queen OF The World is what I prefer.

I followed up by asking Cindy what she thought the second, very unusual, symbol meant. She said, "Oh, that's just a cross for Jesus."

Tentatively, this is what I had to work with:

1. mǔ 母 ("mother")

2. zǐ 子 ("child"), or perhaps some kind of cross

3. wù 物 ("thing, object")

4. guì 贵 ("precious; expensive")

With considerable effort, I could get that to mean "Mother and child are precious things." But I was not satisfied with this interpretation, both because of my uncertainty over the second symbol and because it required me to accept a strained interpretation of the final two characters.

(Continue reading at Language Log)