Subject:Re: Chinese Ivory Seal
Posted By: mikeoz Thu, Nov 30, 2017
Looking repeatedly at this seal, I am struck by an anomaly. which is the very idiosyncratic way that the date has been written. I have never seen a seal with the date written on the top of the seal, nor a seal where the date is the only thing written, nor a date (or even a signature) written in such a bold way.
In addition, looking at the two characters that I am still unsure of, I tend to believe the fourth to be 記, which is a character often used instead of 印, and both usually in that fourth character position.
Which would leave the character in position three to be determined.
My suggestion is based on the knowledge that seal carvers will try to avoid unnecessary duplication of an element, unless done deliberately for design reasons. And, if my hypothesis is correct, the 言 element would appear twice, on top of each other. If, as I am suggesting, the third character is also 記, the transposition of elements can be seen as allowable.
記記 could be used as a reinforcement of the idea of memorialising, of remembering. This would go a long way to explaining the significance of the oversize and unusually placed date - if there had been a person with the name 陳碧, who had died in 1898 or 1958. And whose family had commissioned a memorial seal in ivory.
I am concerned by the scratches on the corners of the top of the seal, which could suggest the seal had been cut down from a larger one with an intricate carved finial. This could also explain the fact that the carving of the date is of significantly lesser quality than that of the printing face of the seal. In this case, my idea of a memorial seal is less likely and the seal may have been the property of a person 陳碧(?), why may have died in the year mentioned.