What is a seal?

Release time:2013-02-28      Source:admin      Reads:

Chinese seals are typically made of stone, sometimes of metals, wood, bamboo, plastic, or ivory, and are typically used with red ink or cinnabar paste. Many people in China possess a personal name seal. Artists, scholars, collectors and intellectuals may possess a full set of name seals, leisure seals, and studio seals. Few of these seals are made of plastic as Plastic seals are not favorable for personal name seals or other personal usages.

Different from Chinese seals, there is a direct line of descent from the seals used in the ancient world, to those used in medievals and post-medievals Europe, and so to those used in legal contexts in the western world to the present day. Seals were historically most often impressed in sealing wax(it is often simply described as "wax"). Wax seals were being used on a fairly regular basis by most western royal chanceries by about the end of the 10th century.

Seals are usually carved by specialist seal carvers, or by the users themselves. Specialist carvers will carve the user's name into the stone in one of the standard scripts and styles described above, usually for a fee. On the other hand, some people take to carving their own seals using soapstone and fine knives, which are widely available and is cheaper than paying a professional for expertise, craft and material. Results vary, but it is possible for individuals to carve perfectly legitimate seals for themselves. However, the common plastic seals we see in today’s market are made by special molds but not a simple soapstone or a knife.

Traditional wax seals continue to be used on certain high-status and ceremonial documents, but in the 20th century they were gradually superseded in many other contexts by inked or dry embossed seals and by rubber stamps. Plastic seals are also a device of traditional seals, only that they are not for personal use but playing as a part of brand tag.

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