Photo on 13-03-21 at 8.25 AMWe returned to Toronto five days ago and are still feeling the effects of jet lag, and of the trip. Our Beijing guide, Babbitt, was kind enough to send a note asking how we’re doing. The people connections we made through design or circumstance are the best part of our time in Shanghai and Beijing: the cleaning woman who smiled at us every morning, the quiet guide Simpson whose grandfather was Chiang Kai-shek’s bandleader and whose family fled Beijing for Chengdu, kind people on the subway who waved at us or grinned just because we were the only Occidentals around.
My favourite souvenir of China is something Babbitt and I bargained with a stonecutter for at the foot of the Great Wall, one I’ll be using for the rest of my life. It’s the kind of stone stamp often used by artists instead of a written signature at the foot of their work, often called a chop stamp. What you see in the impression here is the name WADE ROSE, one on top of the other, in Mandarin. Easy to do, Babbitt told Jonathan of the characters, which Jonathan reproduced on his iPhone, and the price was 110 RMB or a little over $20 for a stone stamp with a lion carved on the top for me to grip. “Cool,” said Babbitt when he looked at the finished impression. I agree. I hope it’s the signature on lots of paintings to come.