Man-Carol art

Carol Man

Hong Kong and New York City, NY USA


Decidedly Jewish, Carol Man began her journey from a totally alien background. Born in colonial Hong Kong into a traditional Chinese family dating back to the Song Dynasty (creators of the world’s first bank notes,) she began a Jewish journey through the 90’s, that while strange and unfamiliar to family and local community, allowed her a cross pollination of both experience and history. This sensitized “vantage point” has blended her primal DNA, with her Master of Visual Arts (2015) obtained in Hong Kong, to create a gestalt of installations, encompassing objects, paintings and calligraphy.

Carol Man lives and works in Hong Kong, and is establishing her second residence and studio in New York. Her inspirations and works are documented in traditional and digital media. Whether in Shanghai or Vienna, Taiwan or Mexico, New York or Jerusalem, both audience and collectors delightfully inform her with ever more meaningful spiritual textures to explore and pursue.


Asian inspired Hebrew text, reciprocates the blossoming of the Jewish experience and cultural expansion. It creates a dialogue to strengthen Jewish identity and its ethnic, racial and cultural diversity experience. This dynamic art form is created by rendering Hebrew bible text in the style of traditional Chinese calligraphy. Individual Hebrew alphabets are arranged within imaginary square blocks, just as how Chinese characters are written, the Asian elements give a refreshing look to Hebrew text and yet embracing the traditional Jewish language, philosophy and wisdom.

Hebrew words, no matter their length, are formed into square blocks of identical dimension, then, arranged traditionally in vertical columns, read from top to bottom down a column, and right to left across columns, or alternative arrangement with rows of characters from left to right within a row.

Single words or passages of sacred text can be expressed in various Chinese scripts including the commonly used Songti and Kaishu, and the ancient Seal Script which shares the same elegant and graceful qualities. The unique lines and strokes are varied and rich, they can be rounded and heavy but also light and spirited. The structure suggests an atmosphere of animation and liveliness. These words can be represented on colorful stained glass windows, murals, wooden sculpture for ark doors and fabric for ark curtains.


Man-Carol art
Pirkei Avot Chapter 1

Love work, loath mastery over others, and avoid intimacy with the government.

אֱהוֹב אֶת הַמְּלָאכָה וּשְׂנָא אֶת הָרַבָּנוּת, וְאַל תִּתְוַדַּע לָרָשׁוּת

Hebrew names in Chinese Songti Fonts, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30cm each, 2020

The original work is acrylic painting in square format.  These characters are created by rendering the alphabets of Hebrew names in Songti, and using the colour layers to indicate the spelling order of the word. For instance, the painting with sky blue background consists of three Hebrew letters לוי (Levi), while the one with green background wrote ראובן (Reuben), names of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Songti (宋體) , a writing style derived from the China Song Dynasty , using woodblock techniques created to enable movable type. It has relatively thinner horizontal lines compared to vertical strokes. There are “triangles” at the end of each stroke. This is to compensate for any “tear and wear” that may occur during printing of that era.

Song of Songs, Acrylic on Canvas, 40x60cm, 2020
calligraphy; Carol Man
Song of Songs, envisioned as a wall hanging, or parochet.

A beautiful verse from “Song of Songs”, written by King Solomon, יִשָּׁקֵ֙נִי֙ מִנְּשִׁיק֣וֹת פִּ֔יהוּ כִּֽי־טוֹבִ֥ים דֹּדֶ֖יךָ מִיָּֽיִן׃ (Oh, give me of the kisses of your mouth, For your love is more delightful than wine, 1:2), rendered in the archaic seal-script style on an intense palette of burnt sienna and malachite green, signals the navigating of feminine and masculine energy. The כי here is represented by a blue crescent which has witnessed thousands of years of human love.

Seal-script 篆書 is an ancient style of writing Chinese characters that was common throughout the latter half of the 1st millennium BCE.