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The emblem for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 was “Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing”, which made the culture of Chinese seal known to the world for the first time. As a matter of fact, this culture can be traced back to Shang Dynasty, more than 3000 years ago. The combination of seals and collection formed the unique Chinese culture of Collection Seal. It became popular during Tang Dynasty (618-907), and reached its peak during Song Dynasty (960-1279). Ever since the Song Dynasty, each literati or refined scholar has had several pieces of exquisite collection seal that they utilized to appreciate the paintings and calligraphy and stamp on them.
Collection seals are mainly divided into 2 categories. One is used to appraise, comment on or collect the painting and calligraphy. And the other is used to stamp on the collected books or ancient records. Ever since the Tang and Song Dynasties, it has been very popular that each collector of successive dynasties would stamp his exclusive seal on the same collection. This helped to form the inheritable system of seals, and therefore, the collection seal became one of the art elements to appraise the painting and calligraphy.
As a unique refined pleasure in the culture of Chinese collection, collection seals have 2 kinds of interesting fun: “the fun of stamping” and “the fun of appreciating”.
To stamp a collection seal is a ceremony for a collector to appreciate a piece of art. It is as well an everlasting admiration to the beauty. There are several particular points to be emphasized: less is better than more, small is better than big, and do not destroy the charm of original work. Some famous collectors made the original painting or calligraphy more artistic due to their seals’ perfect shape, position, red ink paste and stamping technique. For instance, in Feng Chengsu’s copy of Lan Ting Xu, the seal of Emperor Li Xian of Tang Dynasty (656-710) was stamped very artistically due to its appropriate size and the place at the beginning, which well presented the status of emperor. Hence Feng’s copy was also known as Magic Dragon’s copy. On the contrary, the seal of Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty (1711-1799) in this copy was in poor taste and laughed at by the descendants. Therefore, the fun of stamping a seal is in accordance with profound understanding of culture.
In addition, there are several particular points to be emphasized when appreciating the seals, and the collectors never get tired of them. Regarding the material, besides the famous 4 major stones for seal, namely Shoushan Stone, Qingtian Stone, Changhua Stone and Balin Stone, there are other materials such as gold, silver, copper, jade, glass and etc. Among them, the jade seal belongs to the top grade, because all the imperial seals were made of jade. Regarding the craftsmanship, this fun is countless such as exquisitely engraved impression, unique style, rare album of imprints, and vivid decoration.
In 2020, Hong Works has again innovated in the tradition of stamping seals on the collection, especially on the purple clay ware and porcelain ware of which the collector before could not enjoy the pleasure. From now on, each limited collection from Hong Works will be matched with a unique collection certificate, on which there is a space for its successive owners to stamp their exclusive seals. For the convenience of our clients, Hong Works has designed and created a series of collection seal, most of which are made of jade, and look elegant and vivid. Most seals are made by jade carving masters and designed exclusively for our customers.
P.S. By joining our club via Wechat and successfully activating the first certificate, you will get an exquisite collection seal for free and enjoy the exclusive service of engraving.