Talking Seals

Painting by Bada Shanren.

Name Seal

The most common seal is a name seal, and the most common name seal contains both first and last names.

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More Than One

If you have both a first and a last name seal the one with your family name will usually go under the signature.

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Use the Masters

Artist’s often struggle over where to place their seals on their artwork. One of the best ways to learn is by looking at the old masters.

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Don’t Eat It!

The red color of seal ink comes from the mineral cinnabar, which is then made into the color known as vermillion—and it’s poisonous.

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What’s On a Seal?

Most seals have the name of the artist and are used along with a signature or in place of one, but seals can also include favorite phrases, poems, religious texts, pictures, or any combination of these.

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Not Too Tight

Unless you’re working on a very hard stone I suggest you wrap your seal stone in a bit of cloth, tissue, or soft leather before you clamp it into your seal vise.

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Seal Ruler

Although usually translated into English as a seal ruler (印規 yingui) this tool has nothing to do with taking measurements.

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