I thought I'd share one of my small collections…Chinese chops or seals. Husband put one in my Christmas stocking years ago, and every few years I acquire a new one.
Because there is no direct translation of English names to Chinese names, each new chop is unique. What's more interesting, my nickname has somewhere near 30 different meanings!
From left: mom [this was my first one, before I was a mom, perhaps it was prophetic], fast kung fu [or something along the lines of some athletic or skillful prowess] and tree
There is something intriguing about having your name translated and hoping for a more mysterious or romantic meaning. Husband's translation is "tall rice". I'm not sure it's mysterious or romantic, but he's pleased with it.
I think anyone who sees chops is drawn to them because of their graphic boldness and the beauty of the characters. While I was "consulting" with the lovely lady in China Town on my most recent translation, she pulled out her book of many chops to talk about design options. This was a treasure! She allowed me to snap of few pix with the iphone for show 'n' tell.
From my reading, chops are still used as a formal and legal signature in China, Japan and Korea. I like to use them for much more informal purposes, such as stamping the inside of my books or on tags for my handmade goods.
For the Adobe Illustrator savvy, here's a quick tutorial on making your own chop.