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We had an absolutely perfect day with our tour guide - Rogin Luo - who took us for a hike along The Great Wall! Didn't know what to expect and were thrilled to have him as our guide. Very imformative, knowledgable and fun! We go to experience a part of The Great Wall that was unrestored and see all its natural beauty. Got a long history lesson along the way!

After the hike, we all went to lunch at a small place at the bottom of the hill. Located in a house, we ate lunch in the proprietors bedroom! What a hoot! Rogin is the Best of the Best! This tour company delivered for us and we are extremely grateful.

Karenkatz,
Westborough, Massachusetts
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Home  »  China Travel Guide  »  Chinese Culture  »  Chinese Arts  »  
Chinese Seal Cutting

Seal cutting art is the combination of calligraphy (mainly Seal Character) and engraving (including chisel and cast). It is an art to make seal and it is a unique art form of Chinese characters. So far, it has a history of more than 3700 years.

As early as the Shang Dynasty, people engraved with "word" on the shells with a knife (ie, it is called Oracle bone script). These words were carved with very sharp blade which makes the letters have a high "lettering" level. Form the Warring States to the pre-Qin Dynasty, seal cutting was called "royal seal." After First Emperor of Qin, the provisions of "Xi" are dedicated to the emperor, ministers and civil private seals referred to as "seal."

Since the origin to the present day, seal cutting has gone through 3700 years of long history and more than ten dynasties. In this long process of development, seal cutting art emerged two highly developed peaks in the period.


















One is the Warring States, Qin and Han, Wei, Jin and Six Dynasties period. In this period, seal cutting mainly use jade, gold, teeth and horns as materials. It is called "Ancient seal cutting art period," and seal cutting art features mainly divided from era. Seal cutting developed to the Tang, Song and Yuan dynasties was in a period of decline. During this period, due to the application of regular script replaces Seal character, while the official seal was fundamentally separated from private printing, carving art embarked on a downhill. This situation came to a turning point by the end of the Yuan when the painter Wang Mian found that milk stone can be found used as carving material. In Ming Dynasty, Seal cutting art came into the Renaissance.

Since the Ming and Qing Dynasties, seal cutting ushered in its second peak period of development, which is mainly characterized by Seal cutting art genres. During this period, Wen Peng and He Zhen played a significant role in the creation of seal cutting art genre. Wen Peng is the son of Wen Zhengming and he found the "light stone" steatite seal material can be used carving material by chance. After his initiative, the stone has been widely used. After that, seal cutting art emerged various genres. There has been Cheng Sui, Ding Jing, Deng Shiru, Huang Mufu, Zhao Zhijian, Wu Rangzhi and other artists. Seal cutting art showing apparent prosperity.

In Modern times, seal cutting masters Wu Changshuo and Qi Baishi emerged, thus forming a complete history of Chinese Seal cutting. Seal cutting is the perfect combination of calligraphy, the way of cutting and the layout of the seal. In one seal, there is not only heroic and elegant calligraphy, but also beautiful and pleasing paintings.


















Varieties of Seal Cutting
Zhou Royal Seal: before Qin Dynasty, all kinds of signet was called seal. This is China's first name for stamp. Seals are either some small or large, some large seals are several square inches while the small one is only a small fraction.

Qin and Han Official Seal: when First Emperor of Qin unified China, he made reforms to develop a unified font so as to change the chaos of the six countries ─small seal style.  At that time, small seal style is the norm with word, and therefore the standard word on seals.

Private Seal: seals in Tang Dynasty still use seal character, but it had many difference with that in previous ages. Seals in Song Dynasty are similar to those in tang Dynasty. Ming Dynasty has larger sizes than the previous seals. In Qing Dynasty, the seal is half carved with small seal style and the other half is carved with Manchu script.




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