"Chops" are read up to down then right to left. How many characters total is kosher?
Depends, many chops have three, LJM style : a larger surname on the right (except if your surname is a two character one, of course) and two on the left column for your first name (except if your first name has one character...). On the other hand, in this design, the family name character is stretched (ie ceases to be square shaped, as well-behaved characters should be). Some stamp carvers add the character 印 (seal), sometimes on the right column (under the surname), sometimes on the left (in which case the first name is spread on the two columns). I have a couple of stamps, of all sizes and with various 'interpretations' of my name, with 2, 3 and 4 characters,. My favourite, which I used as an ex-libris, is a two character one.
Finally, you have those with your western name and a transcription in meaningless characters next to it...
And of course, you have chops with a motto, and not your name (such a my avatar), which can be much longer.
Edited by fcharton, 04 August 2006 - 03:08 AM.