Subject:Chinese Hardstone Carved Seal
Posted By: TKNZ Wed, Aug 14, 2019 IP: 126.96.36.199
I just got this fairly large (about 13cm high) hardstone seal, and had a couple of questions about it.
1) Is anyone able to decipher what it says? It's a bit too stylized for me, and I got as far as "志XX" before giving up. The carving is by far nicer and finer than any other hardstone seal I've had before, so I wonder if it belonged to someone recognisable.
2) What were these seals actually used for (if anything)? They're such an irregular shape that they seem almost ornamental rather than practical, but the bottom is perfectly flat and pretty neatly inscribed which seems like too much effort to go to for a feature that would never be used. It's also, in a funny way, fairly ergonomic to hold, so it's almost as if someone thought about how to design it so it could be used somewhat regularly for stamping.
3) Any idea how old this might be? Most highly decorative hardstone seals I've seen are rather crude 20th C productions with erroneous Qianlong seal engravings, but this one really seems to be quite finely carved and by someone who knew what they were doing (it is perfectly balanced, there aren't any rough edges besides a place where the bottom of the spear seems to have fractured off, and the figures are fairly anatomically correct, with very well-carved hands). These sorts of things always struck me as rather sloppy late 20th C pieces for the tourist market, but I'm not so sure about this one. Either way, I bought it for 1 Yen, so I'm not concerned if it's brand new in the slightest.
Many thanks for any info and opinions in advance!
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