The imperial jade seal
Updated: 2007-12-19 11:45
The Jade Royal Seal of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)
In any case, the Seal was known to be lost by the beginning of the Ming Dynasty. Both the Ming and the Qing dynasties did not have the Heirloom Seal. This partly explains the Qing Emperors' obsession with creating numerous imperial seals, in order to reduce the significance of the Heirloom Seal.
Jade Seals of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)
In recent years, several seals have been claimed to be the lost Heirloom Seal. However, none of these claims have been confirmed by experts. In at least one case, the seal concerned was found to be a personal seal of an Emperor, rather than the Heirloom Imperial Seal.
Ch'ien-lung emperor and his imperial jade seal
As a mark of possession, generations of Chinese emperors impressed their imperial seals on the works of art in their collection. This practice culminated in the Ch'ing dynasty. The Ch'ien-lung emperor, who ruled for much of the 18th century, personally directed the designs and productions of the imperial workshops and through his connoisseurship exerted a profound influence on the arts.
Crafted from green jade, this square seal is surmounted by a knob, crafted in the shape of twin reclining dragons, which anchors a yellow tassel. The six-character inscription is carved, in three lines. The jade seal inscribed with the phrase "Treasure of the Rare and Ancient Son of Heaven," carved on the orders of the Ch'ien-lung emperor, symbolizes both his patronage of the arts and his elaboration of the age-old practice of seal imprinting.
Editor: Feng Hui
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