topum (topum) wrote,
topum
topum

Ginger jars

One of our new volunteers flew in from China and brought us these ginger jars as a present for our community centre here. How cool is that?

They still have some sticky tape on them that needs to be cleaned off.



Thanks to zirnis and linguaphiles here is the translation:

長命百歲 — May you live a hundred years.
富貴萬年 — Be rich and noble for ten thousand years.

I like how self contradictory they are. Live just to a hundred years but be rich and noble for ten thousand years.

And muckefuck from linguaphiles explains:

That's totally typical of these sorts of couplets, though. They want to maintain parallel structure without repeating any characters. (Note how even the word for "year" is different: 歲 on the first vase and 年 on the second.) Cf. the honorific expression 千秋萬歲 ("thousand autumns, ten thousand years") meaning "to live a long life".
Tags: china, moldova
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