Links for Chinese Seal Carving

There are many online resources for Chinese style seal carving in Chinese but few in English. Here are a few of those we’ve found. Send us an email if you know of others or if the links below no longer connect.

Blue Heron Arts
This is a good online store for Chinese art supplies but what makes it especially interesting for the seal artist is that it’s proprietor Henry Li has posted so many online videos of himself carving seals for customers. To find them just do a search on YouTube for “Henry Li seal carving.”
China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, PRC
Formerly the National Academy of Art and now called the China Academy of Art, this English language version of their web site gives information about the college and includes contact information. Although seal carving is a part of the four-year degree program for calligraphy you can also take individual classes and stay in the college dormitory for international students on a short-term basis. All classes are taught in Chinese but you can get by with a minimal knowledge of the language (and Chinese language classes are available).
Inkston Oriental Arts and Materials
This is a good online art supply shop with lots of useful information; for instance they have a page on seals and another for seal paste plus much more. They are currently the only source I know of outside of China for a brass seal vise.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Go to this page to search the Museum’s collections and type in “Chinese seal.” You will get several thousand results, including seals along with objects that may or may not contain seals on them. There are a few hundred seals in the collection if you want to look through all the entries. There isn’t much information provided, but there are some good pictures. Unfortunately just about anything that isn’t identified as jade is listed as soapstone though few, if any, are actually carved from soapstone.
National Palace Museum, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
You won’t find much by clicking the links on their English-language website, but if you type “seals” into the search box on the home page you’ll find both images and some good information.
Paragon Book Gallery
This English-language new and used book dealer specializes in asian art. From their home page:
  • click the “Browse” tab at the top of the page
  • under “Browse Categories” select “Seals”
By clicking on individual titles you can find which are in English and which are in Chinese (or other languages). Their list of available books is always changing.
University of California, Merced, CA
To quote from their website, “Mr. Jung Ying Tsao, a collector of Asian art, presented the [UC Merced] Library with a fourteen-volume set documenting a collection of Chinese seals. The volumes contain drawings and carefully made impressions of the seals, which date from the Warring States Period (5th century BC) to the 20th century. The collection includes personal, official, and religious or temple seals … while we have little information about the individual seals represented here, these images are made available for research, teaching, and private study.” Note: unfortunately, as of November 2018, this valuable resource seems to be no longer available. Let me know if you can find a link.
Although the contents of this web page could change at a moments notice, the page for “Seal (East Asia)” currently has a lot of useful information on the use of seals in China, Japan, and Korea with many links.