Precious Isle Taiwan

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From the Twitter account of @zhaoxunlinghun:

The large, calligraphic characters on the bottle to the right read:

Bǎodǎo 寶島 ("Precious Isle; Treasure Island")

With the bottle turned upside down as on the left, the characters now read:

Táiwān 臺灣 ("Taiwan").

Note that the owner of this Twitter account, Su Bing, features on his logo the term dúlì 獨立 ("independence"), which we encountered just two days ago in this post:

"Taiwan independence posters in polysyllabic characters" (2/21/18)

For the name "Taiwan", see the explanations in these posts:

"The sociolinguistics of the Chinese script" (8/20/17)

"Water control" (5/30/15)

"The Opacity and Difficulty of the Chinese Script" (9/18/08)

"Vitally worst: 'Chinese' sounds like 'to tear you to die'" (4/7/07)

"How to Forget Your Mother Tongue and Remember Your National Language"

[h.t. Jichang Lulu]


  1. Paul Midler said,

    February 23, 2018 @ 3:29 pm


  2. Shihchuan said,

    February 23, 2018 @ 5:48 pm

    In fact this trend started at least since last year and (somewhat not surprisingly) in Japan, for the advertisement of a rowing tournament:

    The word 戦場 (senjō, "battlefield"), when inversed, becomes
    最強 (saikyō, "stronger"); 挑戦 (chōsen, "challenge), when inversed, becomes 勝利 (shōri, "victory").

    The same designer also designed calligraphy as an act of solidarity to the Taiwanese after the recent earthquake in Hualien on 6th February:

    Where the word 台湾 (Taiwan), when inversed, becomes 加油 (jiāyóu, the Chinese word for general encouragement and support, meaning "be strong", "go for it", "hang on", etc.)

    I am not sure if this bottle is designed by the same designer, but if not, they are surely inspired by the previous examples.

    (Sorry for the news link in Mandarin, I can't find English coverage at the moment: the images should nonetheless be pretty straightforward.)

  3. Victor Mair said,

    February 23, 2018 @ 6:54 pm

    Google on

    david moser ambigram

    for much earlier examples.

  4. Eidolon said,

    February 23, 2018 @ 6:57 pm

    Unfortunately, David Moser's site:, has been sold off and no longer contains any information about the topic.

  5. Mark314159 said,

    February 23, 2018 @ 9:36 pm

    @Eidolon: There’s always the Internet archive, e,g.

  6. David Moser said,

    February 23, 2018 @ 11:17 pm

    This is an incredible logo. Only a native speaker/reader could have designed these. I would never have envisioned taken so many liberties with the various character components. The character wan 灣 seems very strange, and seems to be the simplified form 湾. The top part of the character 臺 seems to read more like 十 with a 日 or 曰 under it, which seems a rather audacious rendering of the character component, which should be 吉, but given that this component has to be read as 貝 in the inverted graph 寶, the calligrapher was forced to stretch it a bit. Nevertheless, miraculously the characters are immediately readable, and such is the flexibility of calligraphic forms that the seeming violations don't hamper comprehension. Bravo.

    Yes, the cognitive-china,org site has lapsed but you can view some of my versions here:

    Or just Google "汉英双语书法 moser"

  7. ~flow said,

    February 25, 2018 @ 2:08 am

    Wonderful. There's (much) more at (incidentally, samples featuring 臺灣啤酒 (actually, 台湾啤酒) are on display #1 as I'm writing this).

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