Subject:PSA - How to read seals
Posted By: TKNZ Fri, Jun 07, 2019 IP: 220.127.116.11
I thought I'd post this message due to the high number of requests for seal readings - I only recently found a fairly good method for deciphering seals for those of us who don't read seal script or know Chinese.
This website allows you to look up seal script characters by radical (the parts the character is made up of). You click on the radicals that seem to be part of the character in your seal in the box on the right, and then you hit the button next to the search bar that they appear in to display all of the characters that include that combination of radicals. When you find a match, you click on the character and it will show you its modern equivalent.
To use this site, you need first to install the seal script font from: http://www.guoxuedashi.com/zidian/xz/swxz.ttf
It will ONLY display correctly in Edge Browser / Internet Explorer
Quite often, especially with Japanese seals, the character in the seal will be slightly different to the standard one that comes up on the first website. To double check if you've found the right character, you can paste the modern equivalent of the character into the search bar on this site, and it will show some of the most commonly encountered variants under the 'Liushutong' section (it's a bit of a generalisation to make, but I've generally found most variant characters I've seen used in seals under this section).
Once you've translated all the characters across to modern ones, you can Google them in speech marks ( "xxxx" ) to restrict your search to that exact phrase, and hopefully an artist will come up. Likewise, if a seal ends in "印", you can omit that final character and generally what's left over will be the artist's name. Remember that seals will almost always read top to bottom, right to left.
These are the two best resources I've found for reading seals, but if anyone else has any tips/tricks/resources I'd love to hear them as I'm still a novice myself.