明 1) bright; brilliant; light. 2) clear; distinct. 3) open; overt; explicit. 4) sharp-eyed; clear-sighted. 5) aboveboard; honest. 6) sight. 7) understand, know: (ie. Know the difference between right and wrong).
鉴 1) mirror (made of bronze or brass in ancient times). 2) reflect; mirror. 3) warning; object lesson. 4 inspect; scrutinize; examine.
明鉴 1) lit: bright mirror; clear mirror. 2) to clearly distinguish. 3) explicit example for reference.
The name Ming Jian when taken as two independent characters literally translates as “bright bronze mirror.” Yet, beyond simply a tool to reflect one’s image, bronze mirrors in ancient China also had symbolic meaning of truth, clarity and insight. These two characters when joined together mean “to clearly distinguish;” which is MingJian’s goal: to help Chinese consumers to clearly distinguish between good products and bad, safe products and dangerous, and good value for money vs. overpriced.
The meaning of MingJian was inspired by two great scholars in Chinese history: Wei Zheng (魏征), who served as advisor to the second Tang Emperor (唐太宗), and Sima Guang (司马光) who wrote ZiZhi TongJian (资治通鉴) during the Song Dynasty.
1) Wei Zheng 魏征 (581-643) was a model official, revered for his wisdom and integrity who served as chancellor under the second Tang emperor, Taizong (唐太宗). Upon his death, Emperor Taizong commissioned a stone monument to Wei, upon which he had inscribed the eulogy he wrote personally:
Using bronze as a mirror allows one to keep his clothes neat.
Using history as a mirror allows one to see the future trends.
Using a person as a mirror allows one to see what is right and what is wrong.
When Wei Zheng died, I lost a mirror.
2) Sima Guang司马光 (1018-1096) was a Chinese historian, scholar and high chancellor during the Song Dynasty under Emperor Yingzong (宋英宗) and his successor, Emperor Shenzong (宋神宗). He wrote and compiled the“Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government” 资治通鉴 (completed in 1084); 294 chapters chronicling Chinese history from the Warring States to Five Dynasties (403 BC to 959 AD). Scholars interpret this titular "Mirror" to mean a work of reference and guidance.