Seal Script

The earliest form of standardised Chinese writing, Qin simplified Seal Script was created after the 1st Emperor Qin Shi Huang united China under one central Government and began the Qin dynasty in 221 BC. The Emperor ordered his Prime Minister Li Si to collate all the different systems of writing in different parts of the country in order to unify the written language under one system. Li did this by effectively simplifying the ancient xiǎo zhuan shū (small seal script).

Studio, Beautiful Textile, Painting - Seal Script
Studio, Beautiful Textile, Painting – Seal Script

It is characterised by Rectangular shaped characters with an emphasis on regularity, even lines and symmetry. These would have appeared on Official documents and large terracotta pieces and are exemplified by the inscriptions on the standard weight measures which show a very natural and plain style. The characters are used for name plates to the present day along with literati seals (or stamps or chops).

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