Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chop Chop I have my own Chop

From the website

A Chinese seal is often colloquially called a “chop.” Chops are actually used in several Asian nations, including Japan and Korea, but they have a long and well established history in China. Some form of the chop has existed in China for thousands of years, and many modern Chinese have their own personal chops, which are considered official seals just as they have been for centuries. Chops may also be adopted for use by Westerners, typically by transliterating a name into Chinese characters.
By tradition, a chop is carved in stone such as jade or soapstone. The stone may be decorated with carvings and ornaments including precious stones, and it is usually rectangular in shape so that it can be easily gripped. The bottom of the seal is pressed into a red paste before the seal is stamped on documents and works of art. Depending on the stylistic choice of the carver, the writing of the seal may appear in red ink, or it may be in white relief against a red background.
The design of a chop may be very basic, simply including the owner's name. In other cases, it may indicate the position of the owner, or it may provide other information, such as the name of the artist's studio associated with the chop. Particularly ornate chops may include decorative carvings in the stamp as well, and some chops can get quite large as a result. Many people have an assortment of chops, including name chops, artist's chops, and ornamental chops. Typically, an ornament on the chop indicates the direction in which it should be oriented.
In some cases, a chop will be passed down after death, as has historically been the case with the Chinese Imperial Seals. The Forbidden City has a sizable collection of such historical chops, although many have also been lost through centuries of political change. This collection includes the chops of high ranking court officials, along with seals used to indicate appreciate or approval on the part of the Emperor.

Many chops are absolutely works of art, but I just wanted a simple chop for use when I write letters, to add to my signature; or when I'm drawing to sign off on the page.

I searched the web, reviewing every site I could find that offered chops. The prices were all over the place, ranging from $10 to well over $100.  I finally settled on  I had read some comments, don't ask me where, that recommended them and the pricing seemed reasonable.  So, now what to put on my chop?

I finally settled on the Japanese kanji for wolf or okami.  Okami was part of the name of a dear departed Akita who was very special to me.  Her full registered name was KuroShiro Okami or black and white wolf; and Okami is the name that I use here on my blog, on Twitter and on FPN. Then, add the fact that I am a wolf nut and avid supporter of the International Wolf Center, Wolf Park and Defenders of Wildlife.  Well, Okami was the perfect choice.  

Since I really wanted to be sure that I was getting what I wanted I went searching the web for the kanji for okami.  This really was not all that difficult, I found several sources.  The first is an online Japanese Kanji dictionary, which provided this:   I also found a number of samples on DeviantArt - one of my all time favorite places to browse.

So here is my chop:

And here is what it actually looks like on paper.

12 comments: said...

Beautiful! ^_^

Sara said...

That is beautiful!
...Now I want one lol XD

Betsy Cañas Garmon said...

lovely! thanks again for sharing more beautiful ways with ink.

Laura said...

I remember seeing some beautiful chops at an Asian art museum in London (didn't realize that's what they were called, though). You're right, they really are works of art. The fine detail on some of them was just astounding!

John M. said...


Stephanie said...

One of the last units in my Japanese class last semester was on "rules" - really systems of government and banking, and one of the words we learned was "hanko" - "personal seal", just like your chop. Apparently in Japan signatures are not nearly as important as these, and if you want to open a bank account or get an alien registration card you need to get yourself a seal! Yours looks lovely and very much personalized to you.

Michelle said...

Wow - that is so lovely!

J. M. Strother said...

I love the story behind your chop. What a lovely way to remember your beloved Akita. It is quite lovely. And thanks for the reference to the Japanese Kanji dictionary. I looked it up on line. It may come in handy at times.

Happy New Year.

KjM said...

Perfect - and I love how you chose the symbol for your chop.

Along with fountain pens, chops are (to me) functional works of art.

Enjoy - and a great way to begin 2011.

Julie said...

Cool, Julie!

Trece said...

How beautiful my dear! And so nice to get more background on YOU!! L8tr!

Angie said...

This is so much fun! Love that you chose a symbol that means a lot to you. A personal gift (even if it's from you to you) is the best! Makes me want to get one, too.

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