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This was photographed by a friend in Beijing. Cursive script is very hard, I can only recognize two characters (多 永).

The character on the top is clearly traditional (i.e. not simplified), though the curve on the bottom of the right-hand side is even older (Seal script?). I couldn't find it on three different dictionaries (using 示 and 耳 as indexes).

Chinese text

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  • 1
    福 弗瑞難多 幸福永遠 癸已京
    – r13
    Oct 4, 2021 at 14:52
  • @r13 Thank you very much!
    – Rodrigo
    Oct 4, 2021 at 15:09
  • @r13 Still, the overall meaning is obscure. Shouldn't 癸已 be a single character? Otherwise they're much smaller than the remaining characters, which is strange in Chinese calligraphy.
    – Rodrigo
    Oct 4, 2021 at 15:19
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    This is a 對聯 that hanging on the wall for decoration and showing off the writer's calligraphic skill. 癸已 is the Chinese year it was produced, 京 is the location, combined with the seal, it is the usual way of signing by the author, called "落款". I would agree that the 上聯 is obscure, the 下聯 is fine though.
    – r13
    Oct 4, 2021 at 15:36

2 Answers 2

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The 上联, though not a common expression, still makes sense.

弗:not

瑞:luck

难:difficult

多:many

i.e. unluckiness being rare = being lucky most of the time

A 对联 is not necessarily well written (in the sense of writing a poem but not calligraphy) by famous authors. That means, amateurs write 对联s too, and some of them would sometimes make weird expressions in order to meet some “rules”. Many elder people enjoy writing 对联; In fact, when I was a high school student, I was interested in writing 对联 too, and of course they were not very “good” ones.

Here, the rule is possibly about 平仄. 平 refers to 平声 and 仄 refers to 仄声, which is a general name for any tone other than 平声, i.e. 上声, 去声 and 入声.

In many genres of the Chinese poetry (in a broader sense), including 对联, the two kind of tones are used in a mutually exclusive manner. If a character in the first sentence is 平声, then the character appearing at the same place in the second sentence shall be 仄声, vice versa.

Here, although 弗 and 福 are 入声 which belongs to 仄声 traditionally, these characters have become 阳平 (the second tone) in modern Mandarin, which is of course a kind of 平声. In this way, the 平仄 pattern is correct:

弗瑞难多:平仄平平(fú ruì nán duō)

幸福永远:仄平仄仄(xìng fú yǒng yuǎn)

This is the best explanation that I could come up with, but it might not be the real reason. So, if you have any other idea, correction is welcomed.

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Is the writer addressing someone called "Fernando" with 弗瑞难多 as transliteration? Otherwise, these 4 characters don't make much sense. If so, this script should be regarded not as a 对联, but a script wishing someone good luck.

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  • Few people would write Fernando as 弗瑞难多 but more as 费尔南多. Maybe Frenando is more probable. So i guess either the first charater is not 弗 or that 弗瑞 means misfortune and 难多 means vanish. Mar 3, 2023 at 8:46

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