My grandfather received a painting when he was invited to China as part of a group of representatives of Sweden. I've always wondered what the symbols meant and since he has passed away and Google translate won't return any results on my images I'm hoping there are some kind people out there willing to help.

See the images below: enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

The painting depicts two birds (cranes), some water, grass, etc. and a red sun.

Many thanks!

  • 3
    潔思(name)辛亥年(1971)秋(autumn)(?unidentified yet)畫(paint) 潔思先生(appellation)中堂(main chamber)松(pine)鶴(crane)圖(painting) Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 15:16
  • @TooskyHierot: Thanks for your comment! Is it possible for you to let me know which image has which words in it? I find it troublesome to identify the symbols even with you writing them out.
    – William
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 11:03
  • @TooskyHierot: Sorry for the double post - I managed to write the translation next to each symbol so you may disregard my earlier comment. The symbols for name; is that the word "name" or is it someones name written out? The first image; would you read that as "painted in the autumn of 1971 by "name""? Could you likewise form a sentence from the words in the other image? Do you think the red symbols in the third image is the painters "signature"? Thanks!
    – William
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 11:12
  • 1
    潔思 painted[畫] (the picture) in the autumn[秋] of the year 1971[辛亥年]. The unidentified character in the first sentence doesn't affect its completeness. The second sentence is the title of the painting: A painting[圖] of pine trees[松] and cranes[鶴] (hung in) the main chamber[中堂] (of)潔思先生('s house). With my best effort of translation. : ) Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 2:38

2 Answers 2


This is Chinese calligraphy. As Toosky's answered, you have known the meaning of these pictures.

Like, in the first picture is "time" (when painted this painting) -- "Author" (who painted)

And if you search about "Chinese calligraphy", you may know more about the forms of calligraphy.


The hard-to-identify characters are in the first and third image. I'll skip the second image.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Thank you for this. I’m mesmerized by the fact that you can read and translate these symbols. Especially given there’s only a slight resembles between the symbols in the image and the ones you’ve given me, however the resembles is still enough to convince me you’re correct. Fascinating!
    – William
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 7:29

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