A Graceful Character

I wish I knew what this Chinese character means – but to me, it’s beautiful form may be enough.

LETTERS – that’s this week’s Daily Post Photography Challenge.  The challenge says,

“As you look through your lens, think about how your image might convey something bigger: a snapshot of how we communicate with one another, even if we don’t speak the same language.”

I wonder, does a person fluent in Chinese notice the inherent beauty of this character? Or does it whiz like lightening through the brain as it connects with other characters to create meaning, disappearing as the meaning is grasped?

But I think any sensitive reader of Chinese might notice the artfulness of this carved and painted character.  And for me, there can be no meaning beyond the graceful form.  That’s enough, for now.

Wikipedia says that Chinese characters are the oldest continuously used writing system in the world. People who read Chinese usually know at least 3,000 – 4,000 different characters. I’d like to learn Chinese, but, well, not very likely at this point!  I will always appreciate the artfulness of the characters, though.

This photo is from my archives; it was taken at New York’s Snug Harbor Chinese Scholar’s Garden.

More responses to the photo challenge are here!





  1. I love eastern lettering, my son learnt all the Japanese kanji, we have a huge Japanese blessing scroll hanging in the entry of the house that scholars oooh and aaah over … this graceful green figure you have shared tells a story on its own, grace and beauty 🙂


  2. I am Chinese but unfortunately do not read Chinese. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful, striking and stunning shot. Not only does the jade-green colour stick out, but the texture of the wood too. I’m inclined to think the characters are much more smaller than they look in real life 🙂


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