Can anyone read the characters (Asian) on this bell my friend's had for about 13 years?
April 20, 2006 7:38 PM   Subscribe

IHateHateHatePhotobucketFilter: Can anyone read the characters (Asian) on this bell my friend's had for about 13 years?

Album here.

Knowing a bit about Asian culture myself, I realize this could technically be of multiple ethnic origins, considering how many countries have used/still use Kanji/Hanzi characters. Long story short: can anyone read these, or at least explain what language they're in?

I can identify these (some may be wrong), though they make no sense in Japanese (what I know--unless I'm too stupid and you're supposed to read it sideways or upside-down or with 3d-glasses or something):

1--- |---2
國 | 曽 男
? | 吉 希
民 | ? 齡
安 | 教 ???
| 送???

3-----|------ 4
木 武 仲 光 | 風
恩 帝 春  ? | 調
弟 案 ? 十 | 雨
子 前 旦 六 | 順
李 吉 年


PS: I hate Photobucket, but. Desperate times, and all that. Ultimately, I realize my chances are slim, but...meh.
posted by Lockeownzj00 to Writing & Language (18 answers total)
 
Photobucket's asking for a password.
posted by Zosia Blue at 7:48 PM on April 20, 2006


1--- |---2
國 | 曽 男
? | 吉 希
民 | ? 齡
安 | 教 ???
| 送???

3-----|------ 4
木 武 仲 光 | 風
恩 帝 春  ? | 調
弟 案 ? 十 | 雨
子 前 旦 六 | 順
李 吉 年


1. 男 otoko - male
2. 木 ki - wood/tree
3. 子 ko - child
4. 十 juu - 10
5. 六 roku - 6
.........
posted by mhuckaba at 7:57 PM on April 20, 2006


It looks like chinese (well obviously) and I've been studying it recently but I can only pick out a few characters. One of them is character for "beef". Is it a cowbell?

According to babelfish its:

□| □male? | Lucky Greece people |? □is peaceful | teaches? ? ? | Delivers? ? ? Wooden Wu Zhongguang | □graciousness emperor spring? | □younger brother document? In front of ten | rain days six | □Li Jinian stands
posted by delmoi at 7:57 PM on April 20, 2006


sweetCat520-死了比活着好 says:
  the chinese you sent me make no sense
sweetCat520-死了比活着好 says:
  it's not even a sentence
delmoi says:
  hmm
sweetCat520-死了比活着好 says:
  you need to decode it
delmoi says:
  hmm
posted by delmoi at 9:41 PM on April 20, 2006


I sent her what you have in the page since yeah, the photobucket link is locked.
posted by delmoi at 9:43 PM on April 20, 2006


Well, without being able to see the actual image, I'd say it's probably Chinese because there's no kana anywhere in there. I won't bother given you the pronunciations since it's not Japanese, but here're some of the characters I recognize from studying Japanese (aside form the ones already posted.

安 - Peace or cheap
教 - Teach
送 - Send
前 - Before/in front of
年 - Year (this is what delmoi likely thought was "beef" or "cow", they look really similar)
風 - Wind
雨 - Rain
調 - Investigate
弟 - Little brother
立 - Stand

Keep in mind a lot of these meanings may have changed drastically, or are used in words where the original meaning makes no sense. There are others in there that are used in Japanese that I just don't know. It should probably be read top to bottom, right to left.
posted by borkingchikapa at 9:47 PM on April 20, 2006


For whatever it's worth, here are some online resources:

JAPANESE:
RISU on Kanji

CHINESE:
Unihan Database
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:05 PM on April 20, 2006


the japanese and chinese meanings may be similar yet radically different. you can also use zhongwen or mandarintools given copy/paste ability or if you know how to look up by radical+stroke.
posted by kcm at 10:18 PM on April 20, 2006


also - the character translations by themselves are fairly useless. the best you can do is ignore the literal meanings, get them all together, and think about the ideas. there are likely pairs/groups of characters which have an aggregate meaning that is related to but not literal to the characters used (zhongwen above is a good starting point for modern ones, which yours may not be). I'm also talking out of my ass which is why I won't try to translate something this involved myself. :)
posted by kcm at 10:22 PM on April 20, 2006


example - Beijing:

北 běi - north
京 jīng - capital


So you'd never directly know that was the name for Beijing although you'd get that it was a city (maybe). :)
posted by kcm at 10:27 PM on April 20, 2006


It's definitely Chinese. I can't access the pictures, but I know that 雨調風順 (it should be reading vertical, going from right to light) is a common phrase that you see in a lot of temples here in Taiwan. Roughly, it means "wishing for temperate weather."
posted by alidarbac at 11:53 PM on April 20, 2006


Year (this is what delmoi likely thought was "beef" or "cow", they look really similar)

I was thinking "雨" = beef. But I was way off. That character looks a lot like "肉" if you havn't seen either one in a couple of years :P. Actually that character means 'rain' FWIW.
posted by delmoi at 1:10 AM on April 21, 2006


FUCK. I'm a fool. I wasetd a question, I suppose. Can't believe I didn't realize that you can't see the pictures...damn you photobucket! And now it's too late...

It should work now. I can not believe Photobucket locks albums on by default. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT SHIT? Ug. Fucked my chance up for this question.

I simply supplied the individual Kanji to see if anyone could make sense of it. I guessed it was Chinese from the format/discrepancies in the characters.

For those telling me the meaning of the characters individually: I take Japanese :) I meant more, "What is this bell tryingt o convey as a whole?"
posted by Lockeownzj00 at 3:19 AM on April 21, 2006


Just a quick comment ...it's almost certainly Chinese because the bell is dated 光绪十六年which is the 16th year of the rein of the Guangxu emperor, 1890.
posted by mono blanco at 5:25 AM on April 21, 2006


Also in the last shot it says 國泰民安 (the four characters running vertically), which basically means "A Great Country At Peace". It's a common phrase, a wish, for greatness and peace, for China. the second character, tai, is also used to represent China and is sometimes translated as Cathay.
posted by mono blanco at 5:29 AM on April 21, 2006


And in the second shot, the other four vertical characters are 風調雨順, which means "harmonious winds and smooth rains". It's meant to echo the other 4 characters I translated above, with both sides of the bell when considered together expressing a wish for nature, politics, and man to mesh together in harmony with nature as represented by zephyrs and soft rains.

A nice wish. Ringing the bell should bring it to the gods.

OK, I leave the rest as an exercise for others. Could be name and place.
posted by mono blanco at 5:38 AM on April 21, 2006


Could you repost the photo to Flickr and then post a new link to it? I don't know any Asian languages, but I do know free internet services.
posted by Sara Anne at 9:03 AM on April 21, 2006


True, for some reason flickr slipped my mind. I was in a hurry, and even though photobucket takes longer (i'd never used it before...atrocious), and I like flickr more, I...bah.

And in the second shot, the other four vertical characters are 風調雨順, which means "harmonious winds and smooth rains".

Wow, nice. I actually derived this from the individual Kanji meanings myself. Go me.
posted by Lockeownzj00 at 12:53 PM on April 21, 2006


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