The World Within a Square Inch: The Art of Chinese Seal Carving

May 15 – September 25, 1993
Inextricably linked to the arts of calligraphy and painting, seals and seal carving occupy a central place in Chinese culture. No work of calligraphy or painting is deemed complete until a seal impression is affixed. Carved on stones selected for their subtle colors, textures, and markings, seals are indispensable components of the literati’s set of writing implements. Yet seal carving is not the mere appurtenance of painging and calligraphy: it is valued both as an independent lapidary art and, through the study of the ancient characters carved on seals, as a vital link with antiquity. The seal is thus at once a tool, a work of art and an embodiment of palaeographic reserach.