ASHA Engraved Chop Stamp, Crafted of traditional soap stone. Often Seals are reused, the engraved portion is cut off and the new owners markings are added. Wether you enjoy it as it is or add your own personal engraving this piece is a wonderful addition to any collection. We are taken with the beauty of the soapstone, it's small size and beautiful intricate carving.
DIMENSIONS: .75" W x .75" D x 3" H
FACTS & HISTORY: You may be surprised at Chinese' special fondness and preference for seals. To Chinese, seals are an art of deep cultural roots, which combines the essence of both calligraphy and engraving and inspires generations to study, to appreciate and to collect.
It is believed that seals came out as early as 8,000 years ago when earliest Chinese civilization began making pottery wares and had private property. They were assumed to make marks on their own possessions to prevent theft. When the first dynasty was established, the king began to use seals to empower and to show lordly credits. Only the king's special seal was then called 'Xi', which represented the highest authority. The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, had his 'Xi' made out of the invaluable and beautiful jade 'Heshi Bi'.
Then followed the local governments who needed seals for similar function. Simultaneously private seals were carved in a variety of auspicious characters and vivid animal patterns. Gradually the Sphragistics came into being, now many collectors' favorite seals. The heyday of seal history was during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties when the feudal arts flourished. As wash paintings thrived, artists stamped their seal on the 'xuan,' a special kind of high quality paper used for painted scrolls in order to identify themselves and to add interest. Various sects of carving were erected by noted seal cutting sculptors.