Sue Lindemulder, Art Teacher

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Dragon by Julie Kim

Music: Kangding Qing Ge (Kangding Love Song)

The Chop, Relief Printing, Ink Drawing

A four to five day lesson plan for 8th grade by Sue Lindemulder

Note:This project was developed for an eighth grade class but could be used in both middle school and high school.

In every day life in China a person would be asked to both sign their name and then to place their chop on top of it. Both are required to make a document legally binding. This practice extends from ancient times to the present. Artists stamp their chop on their artwork to "sign" their work this is considered proof of authenticity. The chop was the forerunner of the art of printing. Chops have become both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional art forms. The calligraphic characters and line design that are hand carved into the base of the stamp can be done in a variety of styles. In addition the engraver may then create an elaborate sculpture on the top. After the chop has been completed to use it, it must be pressed into a special red ink paste. This paste maintains it's for a long period of time. Red ink paste is kept in a porcelain container. These containers are also decorated.

The history of China reaches back more than 5000 years. As in civilizations the earliest forms of art were sculpture. About the time of the Sung Dynasty artists became proficient in painting, calligraphy and printing.

I The Chop (project 1)

Students will create a "chop" design using English letters rather than Chinese characters.


Show students examples of Asian art work with visible chops. Ask students if they have any examples of artwork or other examples that have been signed with a "chop". If possible have them bring them in to share



  1. Design a monogram using the first initials of each of the students. Students may use as few as two initials. Try 15 or more examples. Try using a border. A 1 1/4" square is used for a 1 1/2" square block.
    NOTE: Thin lines and intricate detail will not cut away without some damage.

  2. Choose the design that works best:
  3. Outline the design of choice in red.

  4. Trace over the black area of the design several times.

  5. Center the carving block over the initial and carefully turn it over.

  6. Apply pressure by drawing both vertical and horizontal lines.

  7. Complete any part of the design that did not transfer using pencil.

  8. Using linoleum cutters carve away the entire white or unused surface.

  9. Make a test print by applying a water base marker to the surface and then print on newspaper. The want ad section makes an excellent surface to print on.

  10. Make changes if necessary and test print again.

  11. When the print is satisfactory print on the left hand side of a 3" X 5" index card. Clearly sign to the right of the chop.

Colored markers applied to the surface of the block will provide the ink for printing.