Q&AIs there a specific expression in English to say:" to turn something rotten to a miacle"?
ailee Asked 2 years

For example, an artist carved the common root of a tree and changed it to be a masterpiece. So we can call it” to turn the something decayed to a miracle” in Chinese.

1 Answers
iamuwajimaya Staff answered 2 years

Well, I can’t think of an expression that means exactly ‘something rotten’ in the literal sense of rotten. But I wouldn’t say that the root of a tree is rotten, so I don’t think it’s meant literally here.
 
There are a few things which can express the general idea, which I will mention here:
 
‘Something from / out of nothing’
I don’t think I need to explain this very much. If we make something out of nothing, we take a useless thing (whether physical or a non-physical, such as a situation) and do something real with it. Nothing doesn’t really mean nothing. It means, ‘nothing special’ or ‘something you wouldn’t expect to be turned into something worthwhile’. You could adjust the expression in this case and say, ‘She made a masterpiece out of nothing’.
 
‘I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.’ – Michelangelo
This is obviously not an idiom, but it is close to being that. It’s a famous quote from the most famous sculptor in history. In the case of the tree root, someone who creates a masterpiece from a common object can be said to set the masterpiece free from within the raw form, the root or the marble. Michelangelo didn’t believe this in a manner of speaking, but in another manner, he did. His mind’s eye saw the potential in the block of stone for what masterpiece would come out of it.  
 
 
 
 

aileeailee replied 2 years ago

Thanks. Both explainations are quite clear, though it is hard to find the accurate English expression to match the the Chinese proverb.

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