Subject:Re: Translate Calligraphy Please
Posted By: Thu, Jul 05, 2012 IP: 220.127.116.11
While apologizing for what may sound like petulance, I'll state for the record that literal translation of disembodied Chinese characters enlightens the rest of us about fine points of Chinese antiques, art and culture about as much as watching endless reruns of Charlie Chan movies on cable TV. To quote my Chinese teacher on translation, it all rests on context, context, context!
I feel better already, with that off my chest.
The top photo shows two characters, which when flipped 90-degrees right to the proper reading position appear to read in Mandarin as 'Ding' (a surname) 'Zhai' (a private residence). This could mean 'the Ding residence' unless the wood comes from a coffin, in which case the understood adjective 'eternal' should be inserted before 'residence' to provide proper context.
The other picture shows the surname 'Zhang' at the left. What's at the right is anyone's guess due to the fragmentation. My guess would be 'Jian' (to build or erect).