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Subject:Chinese Ivory Seal
Posted By: David Edwards Tue, Nov 28, 2017 IP:

Thank for your prior help. Does anyone have the meaning of the top script and seal?

Subject:Re: Chinese Ivory Seal
Posted By: I.Nagy Wed, Nov 29, 2017

Top inscription:
戊戌年造  Made in the year of Earth-Dog (1898)
My tentative rerading of the seal;
呉陳即卿  Minister Wu Chenji

With regards,

Subject:Re: Chinese Ivory Seal
Posted By: mikeoz Thu, Nov 30, 2017

Dear David and I Nagy,

I have corrected the orientation of the photo of the seal to show it in right reading view (obviously something not possible with the physical seal).

My reading of the first two characters is 陳碧, and I am totally convinced of this. However, I have not had much luck with the next two. Maybe friend Nagy will have more luck.

Looking forward to the next step.


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.

Subject:Re: Chinese Ivory Seal
Posted By: I.Nagy Fri, Dec 01, 2017

Dear Mikeoz,

Thank you for the right picture orientation.It was quite a hard job to read the seal upside down on the wrong way.
Now with the proper direction I read it,
陳碧信記   Seal of Chen Bixin
The last character "記”has the meaning of mark and seal.

With regards,

Subject:Re: Chinese Ivory Seal
Posted By: David Edwards Sun, Dec 03, 2017

Thank you so much for your help. I appreciate it so much.
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