Suitable Children

The phrase “Suitable Children and Grandchildren” (宜子孫 yizisun) goes to the primal Chinese idea of family. One of the most important concepts throughout Chinese history has been the desire for descendants to carry on the family name and bring honor to their ancestors.

Both seal shown above are from the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), a period considered today as the epitome of seal design. The round seal on the left has the three central characters flanked by a dragon on the left and a tiger on the right, representing the opposites of yin and yang. The seal to the right has the same three characters by themselves stacked one on top of the other in a rectangle. The seal on the left has white characters on a dark background (yin) while the one on the right has dark characters on a light background (yang).

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