Here at Eclectic East, we are working on some artwork that is inspired by our life in Hong Kong.We love the tradition of the Chinese stone chops and plan to use them to create contemporary printed artwork.
The chops are carved by hand with the designs that you request. Traditionally you would have a chop made with your name and this would be used in correspondence. It is still a tradition which continues today, but now Hongkongers also use this traditional craft to create logos and other modern designs.
As with many things in Hong Kong, the tradition lives on and there is still a street devoted to it which is aptly named – chop street!
I found Mr Ng’s shop and he helped me to chose chops which were auspicious and held significance to me.
We chose the Pheonix and Dragon which is a very auspicious symbol in Chinese culture. There is a saying in Chinese which is “When the dragon soars and the phoenix dances, the people will enjoy happiness for years, bringing peace and tranquility to all under heaven.” So I am very happy to take that! Secondly we chose the Monkey which is my birth sign. According to the Chinese zodiac people born in this sign are Lively, quick-witted, versatile and creative – hope I can live up to this! Lastly we chose the Lion which Mr Ng simply told me was “very happy”! Having looked this up since I have seen it is known as the king of animals and is seen as a symbol of power and protection. So with those three it seems I am all sorted for protection, happiness and creativity – what more does a girl need!
Once I told Mr Ng the words that I wanted on each chop he drew them by hand which he used as a guide for his carving. He is a true craftsman and can carve the most intricate designs. I hope this is a tradition which continues and doesn’t die out with a new generation.
I went back to pick up my chops once Mr Ng had had time to carve them all. He did such a beautiful job and even showed me how to use the traditional ink to create the prints. Here is a sneak peek of the designs I chose, this one means I love Hong Kong! It is shown reflected obviously but it gives you an idea of Mr Ng’s skill in this long tradition. Long may that continue.