In Chinese poetry, a couplet (simplified Chinese : 对 联 ; traditional Chinese : 對 聯 ; pinyin : duìlián ) is a pair of lines of poetry which adhere to certain rules (see below). Outside of poems, they are usually seen on the sides of doors leading to people's homes or as hanging scrolls in an interior. Although often called antithetical couplet, they can better be described as a written form of counterpoint. The two lines have a one-to-one correspondence in their metrical length, and each pair of characters must have certain corresponding properties. A couplet is ideally profound yet concise, using one character per word in the style of Classical Chinese. A special, widely seen type of couplet is the spring couplet (simplified Chinese : 春 联 ; traditional Chinese : 春 聯 ; pinyin :chūnlián), used as a New Year's decoration that expresses happiness and hopeful thoughts for the coming year.
A couplet must adhere to the following rules:
Example of a couplet:
好年好景好運氣 good year good condition good fortune
多財多福多吉利 more wealth more happiness more lucky
心想事成百業興 heart wish business success hundred industries flourishing
時来運到家昌盛 Chance come fortune arrive home prosperous
天增歲月人增壽 Heaven add years people gain ages
春滿乾坤福滿門 spring full universe happiness full house
鴻圖大展萬事興 grand prospect widely unfold millions things prosperous
富貴吉祥財源旺 rich honour lucky auspicious financial resource flourishing
人興財旺平安宅 family growing finance flourishing peaceful house
福壽雙全家常貴 happiness longevity both possessed house always honourable
旺犬旺財旺新年 vigorous dog flourishing finance prosperous new year
好年好景好運氣 good year good condition good fortune
開工大吉 commencing work propitious
出入平安 travel safe and sound
Originating during the Five Dynasties, and flourishing during the Ming and Qing dynasties in particular, couplets have a history of more than a thousand years and remain an enduring aspect of Chinese culture.
Often, couplets are written on red paper and stuck on walls. Sometimes, they are carved onto plaques of wood for a more permanent display.
Dueling couplets are a popular pastime with Chinese speakers,a game of verbal and intellectual dexterity, wit and speed which shares some parallels with the dozens. A notable modern-day example occurs at the 7:24 point of the second segment of the satirical machinima War of Internet Addiction (at 16:58 of the video's complete running time).
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