Beware the Box

Not too long ago someone showed me a seal they had made for them from the prestigious Xiling Seal Society in Hangzhou, China. It had come in a custom-made box made to protect it from accidental scratches and such. The problem began after they had used the seal a few times. Each time, after they stamped it into the red ink and pressed it onto paper, they cleaned the ink from the stone and put it back in the box. But, no matter how well you clean off the stone, there’s bound to be a little ink left behind. After a while the ink will transfer onto the box and, if you’re not careful to place the stone back in the box the same way each time, you’ll eventually end up with ink on both ends of the box. The lion on the top of this person’s seal had unintentional red hair on it’s head—a result of rubbing up against the ink residue in the box. Since the ink is oil based it will probably never be able to be cleaned completely from the stone. The moral of the story is to remember which way you put the stone into its box and always put it back in the same way so you don’t ruin your valuable seal.

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