Name Seals

Name seals can have the family name only, the personal name by itself, both the first and last names together, an artistic name, or a name in combination with a phrase or picture. In other words, you can have pretty much anything you want on your seal. Name seals can have white characters on a red background, red characters on a white background, or any combination of the two. Name seals can of course be in Chinese but can also be in any other language, including English. Many seal carvers in China who specialize in the tourist trade will make a seal for you with your name in English accompanied by a transcription of the sound of your name in Chinese characters. There are dictionaries published just for this purpose of showing the Chinese versions of western names.

Many of the ancient name seals—though this is still in use today—will have the three characters of someone’s name (and most Chinese names have three characters) followed by the character 印 yin, which basically means “seal of …”

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