Little lane with long history of handcrafted chops
Century-old chop lane
A small alley of roughly 20 market stalls with hand-made chops, stamps and name card printers, Man Wa Lane has been around for nearly a century. Dating back to the days when a company chop was needed for every document or paycheque, this was the go-to place for the trading companies and Nam Pak Hong (南北行).
Since 1980s, people would come to this little lane from all over the world, especially the Japanese. “Their economy was booming and hand-made chops were a sign of luck and prosperity and much cheaper here than back home,” remembers chop Master Ng.
80-year-old Pun Han Sin Koon is one of the few stalls left. “This used to be a 3-in-1 industry, we did letter-pressing and card-printing and I carved chops in my spare time,” explains Master Ng who has been in the industry for four decades. His work even ended up on the 100-dollar banknote. “I only realised when I saw the news on TV and found my design on the newly printed 2010 series banknote of Standard Chartered Bank,” says Master Ng.
Nowadays, many orders go to the factories in China, but Master Ng is not yet on his way out, he stocks wood, stone, jade and even buffalo horn. In addition to six ancient Chinese fonts, he carves English and also cartoon figures. “As long as there are words, I can create.” Prices start at around HK$300.