Necklace Translation
September 25, 2008 3:28 PM   Subscribe

Can anybody translate this necklace for us?

We found this necklace while going through my grandparents house. We think that my grandfather got it while he was stationed in Pearl Harbor during the Korean War, but we are at a loss on what it means. Neither my grandmother or grandfather ever talked about it so it was quite a find. It also seems to be solid gold. I'm completely guessing that its Chinese characters.
Here's another picture and another, its kind of worn down but these are the best pictures I could get before my camera died. Thanks for any help.
posted by lilkeith07 to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's Chinese, and although my Chinese fluency is waning, I believe the first word is for happiness, and the last word is "fortune". The three words aren't supposed to be read as one phrase/word, I think.
posted by curagea at 4:11 PM on September 25, 2008

Best answer: I'm a little iffy about the middle character, but I believe that reads "壽 禄 福" I'm not sure if the characters mean anything as a word, but individually they mean longevity, happiness, and good fortune, which are typically auspicious and good things to invoke.

I do get some google hits on a slightly longer phrase, 全喜壽禄福, but those all seem to be for auctions of semi-precious worry beads.
posted by adamrice at 4:19 PM on September 25, 2008

Best answer: adamrice is correct that the words read "壽 禄 福". They are supposed to be read from right to left, though, so it's 福 (fu), 禄 (lu), 壽 (shou).

It's a common enough phrase, and refers to the three "blessings" of good fortune, prosperity and longevity, and personified in the "Three Star Gods". It's a mainstay in traditional Chinese Taoist culture even today, and probably inspired the Japanese Fukurokuju. Wikipedia has more.
posted by hellopanda at 5:13 PM on September 25, 2008

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