IM Pei is very famous. But who is John Hancock? Or maybe you know Mr. Hancock, and ask, “who is IM Pei?”
贝聿铭家喻户晓，但不知John Hancock何许人也；或许你知道Mr. Hancock，却不认识贝聿铭。
Americans instinctively know when someone asks them for a “John Hancock,” but most non-Americans might be perplexed. John Hancock was a signer of the Constitution of the United States. He was not a great man by the standards of the original framers of the Constitution, but his claim on history is that he left a very large artistic signature, the most obvious signature of all the signers. From that point onwards, whenever people want you to sign your name in America, they will ask you to give your “John Hancock.”
有人向美国人索要“John Hancock”时美国人立马就知道是什么意思，而非美国人就会感到迷惑。John Hancock是美国宪法的签名者之一。按照最初的制宪者的标准，他不是伟大的人物，但他留下的比其他签名者都明显的大大的艺术签名却让他青史留名。从那时起，在美国，当人们要你的签名的时候，他们会请求你给予“John Hancock”。
Creative work is, by definition, the work of a creator, an artist. And the creator often leaves some kind of signature on his work. For example, when we look at a painting that has many blues and greens of nature, we instinctively think of someone like Monet, because that is his “signature,” practically instantly obvious.
I.M. Pei is one of the most famous creative architects of all time. I happen to have a marriage connection with him, so I have been particularly watching his career and creative work for many years. Mr. Pei grew up in Shanghai and lived for a significant time in New York, but his hometown was Suzhou, a very beautiful town in China, near Shanghai. Some of his most famous architectural buildings include the Louvre in Paris and the Kennedy Library in Massachusetts. But there is a storied tradition that I.M. Pei loved to leave his signature directly in his architectural buildings. However, the signature is not usually immediately obvious, and you have to look for it.
One day I was strolling around Hong Kong Island, and examining the Bank of China building, one of his most famous buildings, and a critical architectural masterpiece of the Hong Kong skyline. To my great surprise, I “realized” that the building was actually an upside down “P”, the “candles” on the side were basically the “i”s, and above these on the bold sides of the building were many “M”s; indeed all of the initials of “IMP”. Not many people actually know that, at least not my many friends whom I asked. Did you?
In 2014 and 2015, I visited the Suzhou Museum which was designed by Mr. Pei, in his late years, as a tribute to his favorite city of Suzhou, his hometown. As I was wandering around, I decided that I must find his signature. It should be there in some way, according to the tradition. No one I asked knew what I was talking about, certainly not any local people.
After walking around for quite a while, I suddenly realized that the signature for his creative work was, as they say, “hiding in plain sight.” The inscription for the entire building was basically his name “Bei”, but replicated again and again in various guises, written in a very artistic way (see the photos). The insignia of the museum itself, and all the buildings were built on this same motif: essentially the entire museum was “bei,” “bei” and “bei,” everywhere you look. But you have to look to see it. It is sort of like the phrase, “you see, and do not see” or “those who have eyes to see, can see.” Or simply, we have to open our eyes to see many things, to be aware, and to be willing to see.
徜徉了好一会儿后，我突然意识到这个杰出作品的签名正如英文所言 “hiding in plain sight,躲藏在众目睽睽之下”。整个建筑的题词乃是他的姓“贝”，不过更换了不同的字形，以非常艺术化的方式写就（看图）。博物馆的徽记和整个建筑都遵循这个主旨：放眼望去，整个博物馆到处都是“贝”、“ 贝”，还是“ 贝”。但是你还得仔细去查找，正如“视而不见”或者“有眼力的人能看见”。简言之，我们必须睁开双眼去观察事物，有意识的、很乐意的去查看。
Our Creator is like that, He wrote all over creation, and it is “obvious” to those who have eyes to see; but “not obvious” to those who do not look, or do not want to look. He is there to be found if we want to find Him, His signature is all over the universe: His “John Hancock” and His “IM Pei” are everywhere.
我们的造物主也是这样，他在所有的创造物上写上标志，用眼去仔细查看的人可以一清二楚；不去看的或者不想看的人却如同雾里看花。你找他，他就会被发现，他的签名遍乾坤：他的“John Hancock” 和他的 “贝聿铭”无处不在。
A famous declaration by a great rabbi was: 一个伟大的犹太学者说:
For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”