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  • Writer's pictureChristina

Master Tang signature chop

On a heaving Summer's day, I'm walking around Sheung Shui to locate the hand-carved stamp craftsman. I was in luck, there he is in the middle of San Fung Ave. Master Tang, the master has been running his little street mobile store for more than 40 years, He has no hawkers licence and is constantly subjected to a pounding from government officials. But there he is, determined to serve the neighborhood, especially the elderlies where a tailor-made stamp is often needed once writing their own signature becomes too difficult.

Master Tang started learning the craft from his cousin when he was a teenager. It took 10 years to acquire the art of calligraphy, shaving wood, carving on hard objects including rock, buffalo and cattle bones. Master told me nowadays no young person will learn the trade, it's just too hard. The three carving knives are his treasure. He told me about the days when stamp boxes were made of buffalo bones, but that's all gone now. Today only plastic boxes are used. Not the same. Nowadays his health is not good but he insists on guarding his life long business and serving the community as long as he can.

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