Unit: Essay Example

Arts: Seal Artist

Introduction

Chinese calligraphy has been developed through a series of stages taking a long time in its history of development. In the Shang and Zhou dynasty where the art began, the seal made included the greater seal script which was inscriptions on Bianzhong Bell and oracle bone. The invention of the first Chinese characters is attributed to Jie Cang. Within the Shang dynasty there is historical evidence of very ancient formats of systematic writing. The materials in which the carving was done on is written in the Jiaguwen or the oracle bone script. In the time of Zhou dynasty, the inscribing on bronze vessels was known as bronze script or Jinwen. The scripts were categorized under the greater seal script; Dazhuan. This was so due to the fact that in various regions in China there were varied script styles used. Until the 3rd Century BC, the most dominating style of script writing in most parts of China was greater seal script.

History and Development of Seals

The end of the Warring States with the conquering of all states and establishment of a central government occasioned the standardization of different styles in writing during the Qui Dynasty. The new seal scripts developed during this time were referred to as Xiao Zhuan, the lesser seal script. This seals had features depicting simplified and standardized forms. Qui clerical script basically was solely for daily matters correspondence and for office document writings (Andrews & Kuiyi, 2012). Dynasties, people China often did engrave stelae on regular script, despite that it was feasible to identify the Han style script’s angular strokes and the flat structure. This transitional style of script is called the stelae style. However, some calligraphers during the Ming Dynasty to the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, did lose interest on wood-block rubbing learning and rather did focus directly on mastering the bronze wares and archaic Han stelae.

In Chinese visual culture and art, seal engraving forms a paramount and an integral aspect. To understand the aspects of the seal graving, it is relevant to explore the theoretical and historical concepts, styles, techniques and personalities involved in the art. Importantly, it is worth mentioning and examining the study of the art to unravel the seal’s social functions, seal styles transformation and appreciating the seal art and its imprint images as aesthetic objects (Brown, 2011). To acquire ample knowledge in the contemporary thoughts, it is essential to develop a synergy that includes Chinese jewelry design, typography, calligraphy, painting, art history and other aspects of sculpture with all other courses. It is important to note that the seals were used to capture the aspects of the beauty of nature and appreciate the aesthetic value of the Chinese history.

Unit:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/463609939/custom-embosser-seal-hand-held-style-1?ref=market Custom embosser seal held style round decorative with name

The art of seal carving needs demanding techniques, knowledge of Chinese history and characters, mastery of Chinese calligraphy, and essentially, time commitment. It entails, even more, commitment as the artist tries to develop a unique style. Baoling (2011) refers seals as are hand-held printing blocks on which some patterns are inscribed basically inform of text.in imperial China, seals were icons of prestige and immense power. This exercise looks into the modern inscribe seals afterlife in comparison to the time of imperial era order decline and its collapse of social status and knowledge, mass culture and modern consumer market emergence, and the local modern disciplines accommodation that did come up with modern structures of engaging and classifying the material world. Chinese seal sculpture model as a mirror of distinctive Chinese culture and representative fine art did evolve from various practices in which seals users, scholars, consumers and the carvers defined the significance of the object in the modern world.

From dynasty to dynasty, the transfer of imperial seals marked the transfer of imperial authority. They are useful in the reconstruction of history and considerable relevant in archaeology. Seal Carving is a form of traditional Chinese art which entails carving out ancient words and short proverbs on the bottom of a seal (Anita, 2012). Starting in Shang Dynasty and Chuo Dynasty seals began to be used in governmental affairs, representing power and authority. The connection between seal carving and the literati way of life had to be partially set-aside to ensure that seal carving did survive in the event of China’s transition to a highly mass-oriented society. Special artisans began to emerge ever since, but the type of characters used on seals differs. With the ideas of seal making and development of schools in various parts of China and as time passed, seal carving has become an important form of art in modern China, because it represents the combination of history and craftsmanship.

Types and Categories of Seals

In addition to the various use for official and private purposes of the seal over dynasties there existed various types and categories of seals. The classification of the seal depended on the inscriptions such as in collector’s seals, studio seals, leisure seals, archaic seals, pictorial seals and name seals. Besides, the seals exhibited different shapes and graphic icons (Fogel, 2012). Methods such as intaglio and relief were employed during seal carving. The intaglio method involved inscription of characters in such a way to create white text made clear by red background while relief entailed incising blank parts. The relief carving and incised carving both of the top and the sides of a seal include signature inscriptions. Short inscriptions refers to short postscripts, which are written from as few as two words to about a dozen.

The Qin dynasty is a great watershed in the history of Chinese script. There are various skills employed in the carving of seals. The script which was approved under the Qin dynasty existed in two different forms, a more complex standard form and a simplified demotic form. The former script is referred as the seal script from its widespread use on seals. The Qin seal script is directly descended from the bronze inscriptional script of the Zhou dynasty (Tze-ki, 2013). The script which was seized under the Qin dynasty existed in two different forms, a more complex standard form and a simplified demotic form. The former script is known as Zhuimshil, the seal script from its widespread use on seals. The Qin seal script is directly descended from the bronze inscriptional script of the Zhou dynasty. In the early times, Bian Kuan was used in writing and poetry. However, to refine the seal the calligraphers employed knife skills to sustain and improve the taste of the seals.

Seal Art Schools and Artists

Zhe School of the seal was established during the Ming Dynasty and became popular during the Qianlong and Qing dynasties. The school is attributed for the stone seal. Dan Jin is traditionally recognized for the famous work in the school of Song academic ideal. The painting in the school was based on the love for the landscapes (Peng, 2010). Since Ding hailed from Xiling and proactive in the region the headquarters of the school was transferred to Xiling and renamed the institution Xiling Seal Society. It was composed of the conservative painters largely concerned with decorative paintings. The school was independent of the imperial sponsorship though they were accorded support. Besides, Wan School was based in Anhui region and operated during the Ming and Qing dynasties. These schools produced great calligraphers whose works are relevant in the contemporary world of seal carving.

Seal Artists

Many scholars find it interesting to study the life of Luo Ping not only because of his scholarly works and highly-illustrated volume, attractive character and a wide range of friends but because of his painting and seal carving and his convincing imitation of his master’s work (Anita, 2012). He spent his early life in Ganguan where he developed the passion for painting and seal carving. In his early life, he studied painting under the instructions of Nong and developed a special personal style in painting. He concentrated in painting people, scenes, did several Buddha images and flowers. He declined to work for the government to carve seals and sell paintings.

However, his life kicked off with a sad note as his father died when he was only one-year-old followed by the death of his mother. As an orphan, he was recognized as a talented poet and sponsored to study artistic skills. He dramatized his life by marrying a poet and a painter Fang for the love of the painting art (Karlsson, 2014). It is interesting to note that their children took after they parent and embraced painting art. They established trade mark for their products as a family. It is after the five years of his marriage that he met Nong, the man who influenced his life. Like his mentor and teacher, Nong inspired Luo to become a great painter and seal maker.

In his second part of his life, Luo made a significant success. Luo made several achievements in the field of seal making as his seal collection contained sixty-eight seals by the foremost seal engravers of the eighteenth century. These encompass the three personalities of the Four Famous Masters of Hangzhou namely Ding Jing, Huang Yi, the representative of Anhui School of seal carving, Ba Weizu, as well as Gui Fu and Deng Shiru the foremost exponent of the Wan school of seal carving. Luo later compiled an extensive collection of impressions of the seals (Karlsson, 2014). Among Luo’s most significant artistic endeavours was his extensive pictorial study and recapitulation of earlier artist’s portraits. He made copies of pictures by major painters of the past and painted the well-known hand scroll Yingxhou Hall.

Unit: 1

http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/after-luo-ping-1733-1799-plum-blossoms-76-c-b444d4180e The Luo Ping plum blossoms

The Early Life of Wen Peng

Wen Peng was a personal seals maker during the Ming Dynasty. He was born in Shanghai and brought up in Suzhou by his father who was a painter. His father and his brothers were painter and seal engravers (Weizu, 2013). In his early age, he learnt Chinese painting on landscaping from Yiming, a great artist of the time. As a teacher of carving and seal making in Guozijan, he was recognized as the founder of the contemporary seal carving and the founder of the seal engraving school in Wumen. He experimented on the making of seals using soapstone in creating calligraphic designs. His seals had simple designs and had squarely features as well as bold lines like the styles used in the Han Dynasty.

Unit: 2

http://www.i-china.org/ewebeditor/uploadfile/20091112082934803.jpg

His achievements in the seals making are surfaced in the foundation of seal making school and procedures as well as recipes to create seals stamp. He started his carrier of seal made in the creation of styles which were at the forefront of the art of seal handcraft (Weizu, 2013). He proposed recommendations the mixing of the ground ingredients to make red paste used in seals making. Also, he introduced new style in seals making and inventing new materials for making better, harder and durable seals. In his scroll, Wen made the finest example of a clerical script which dates back to the Qin Dynasty. His strokes were strong and could be singled out due to the distinguishing characters such as durability, wider and tall. Also, he was a re-known in ivory seal making. Because of his flexibility in changing of styles and inventing new ones he influenced many students to join seal making.

Conclusion

Chinese calligraphy developed through a series of stages taking a long time in its history of development. In the Shang and Zhou dynasty where the art began, the seal made included the greater seal script which was inscriptions on Bianzhong Bell and oracle bone. The Qin dynasty is a great watershed in the history of Chinese script. There are various skills employed in the carving of seals. The art of seal carving needs demanding techniques, knowledge of Chinese history and characters, mastery of Chinese calligraphy, and essentially, time commitment. It entails, even more, commitment as the artist tries to develop a unique style. The end of the Warring States with the conquering of all states and establishment of a central government occasioned the standardization of different styles in writing during the Qui Dynasty. The new seal scripts developed during this time were referred to as Xiao Zhuan, the lesser seal script.

References

Andrews, F., & Kuiyi, S. (2012). The Art of Modern China. Berkeley: University of California.

Anita, C. (2012). Chinese Art in an Age of Revolution: Fu Baoshi (1904-1965). New Have: Yale University Press.

Baoliang, C. (2011). Zhongguo de she yu hui. Beijing: Beijing renmin daxue chubanshe.

Brown, S. (2011). From Art and Antiquarianism to Modern Chinese Historiography. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Fogel, A. (2012). The Role of Japan in Modern Chinese Art. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Karlsson, K. (2014). Luo Ping: The Life, Career, and Art of an Eighteenth-century Chinese Painter. Bern: Peter Lang.

Peng, L. (2010). A History of Art in 20th-Century China. Milano: Charta.

Tze-ki, H. (2013). Revolution as Restoration: Guocui Xuebao and China’s Path to Modernity, 1905-1911. Leiden: Brill.

Weizu, S. (2013). Chinese Seals: Carving Authority and Creating History. Hong Kong: Long River Press.