Talks About Love
It was late at night only a couple days prior to Christmas. The house was fairly neat, most of the decorations were up, gifts ready, but I was still baking cookies. It was then that I heard from the China Room a muffled "Nǐ hǎo." In response, I replied "Nǐ hǎo" and went into the room to find out what object was saying hello. It seemed that is came from the shelf.
I walked over to the shelf where I thought that I had heard an object saying "Nǐ hǎo" and soon discovered it was from the carved Chine wood seal.
I realized that the top of the wooden seal was still attached, which caused its "Nǐ hǎo" to sound muffled. Therefore, I took off the top.
As soon as I took the top off, the seal said, "Xièxiè," which means thank you. I responded by saying, "Bù kèqì," which means you're welcome. Thus began a nice conversation in English, since I had about reached my limit of words that I remembered in Mandarin.
I began by asking why the seal wanted to talk with me. The seal replied, "Well, Christmas is a very festive season for many people around the world. It is a time for love, peace, and joy. I thought that it would be a nice time to wish you well during this season and the coming New Year."
I acknowledged its best wishes and wished it well also.
"What do you know about the use of Chinese seals? You certainly have a great deal of objects from China. Everything in this room and many other things scattered around your home are from China."
I replied that I just know that seals were used in China and many other places around the world as a signature, whether it was on official documents or just ordinary letters.
The seal agreed and said, "You have a large calligraphy picture on the other side of the room."
Then the seal added, "Notice that there is a seal in the lower left. Interestingly, in all Chinese seals, they are almost always red in color."
I looked closer, and the seal was indeed red.
"The process of using seals in China started nearly four millennia ago during the Yin Dynasty. In China, we call seals, Yin-Zhang or chop-carving. It is considered one the four-treasured arts, along with painting, calligraphy, and poetry.
"I am a chop-carving of the English word for love, which is in Mandarin. Interestingly, love is a combination of the English word for friendship, which is in Mandarin and the English word for heart, which is in Mandarin. Therefore, love in Chinese is a loving relationship between the hearts of friends. It seems that this should be part of the expression of this season of the year."
I thanked the Chinese seal and hoped that this season and the New Year would be devoted to relationships between the hearts of friends. Then I returned to the kitchen and finished baking. My cookies could also be expressions of my love.
Visit the Talking with Objects page to read more about this topic.