In Europe we’ve been signing documents for centuries. If you couldn’t write you used to get someone else to fill in forms for you (hence the variations in spelling of some surnames) and you marked the paper with a cross.
In China people used a stamp, known as a chop, to “sign” documents. I’ve read that they used to say that whoever held the chop in a company holds all the power. Whilst this practice has changed and signatures are becoming more common, you can still get a chop made.
Examples of chops:
I’ve seen places selling chops all over South East Asia, and have liked the idea of owning my own chop, but was always unsure as to how good a chop made by someone who sold chops as a sideline, as part of a gift shop. Hong Kong however, has an alley of stalls specialising in chops.
Man Wa Lane, known as Chop Alley, is in Sheung Wan on Hong Kong island.
Choosing a stall to use was hard as they all appear pretty similar! I eventually chose to use Hung To Chops and Printing.
Like many of the stalls on Man Wa Lane, the stall sells more modern stamps as well as the traditional chops.
I had lots of stone chops to choose from (as well as other options).
I previously had decided I wanted to have Mrs M on my chop, along with a flower. I went through rough ideas with the chop maker and we eventually sketched out a design on my receipt.
The chop would be ready in just over an hour, but I wanted to keep sightseeing, so I waited a whole day!
I was amazed at the detail put into a little chop by hand…
When printed it looks like this:
It was well presented in a case, complete with some ink:
I’d chosen a chop with two dragons twisted together.
I’m very pleased with my chop and think it is a perfect souvenir for a crafter like me! You’ll find me using the stamp in the future on my papercrafts etc ☺