Today was our Chinese calligraphy class. We began our lesson by writing an archaic version of our Chinese last name. We did this using calligraphy brushes to practice and get familiar with the character.
Hundreds of years ago, people would use a customized seal as a signature to protect documents, letters, and artwork from theft. When a piece of artwork was created, it was claimed by placing a unique and exclusive stamp directly on the art. This was a sign that the particular piece of art was under their possession. Some greedy emperors would claim thousands of pieces of art as their own regardless of if the piece was rightfully theirs. This tended to decrease the value of once-priceless pieces of art because the dozens of seals stamped on the art detracted from the art itself. Nevertheless, seals were a way for people to confirm that any particular item was theirs.
We were able to make our own seals with our Chinese last names. We took pieces of soft stone and etched the character into the seal. This was a difficult and tedious task because the lines had to be clear and etched deeply into the stone.
Once that was completed, we aged the look of the seal by pounding dents and marks along the edges of the seal. This made the stamp look more authentic like the seals of ancient times.
We dipped the seal into bright red waxy paint and pressed firmly into our paper. The result was incredible. The seals looked exactly like the ancient seals. It was truly an awesome experience to create our own seals and use them just like the people of past.
Thanks for reading!