Seal-cutting is a unique part of the Chinese cultural heritage. It is traditionally listed along with painting, calligraphy and poetry as one of the "four arts" which an accomplished scholar is supposed to master. The art dates back about 3,700 years to the Yin Dynasty and originated from the cutting of oracle inscriptions on tortoise shells.
Characters on seals may be cut in relief or in intaglio. The materials for seals could be wood, stone, horn, jade, agate, crystal, ivory, or even gold. Seals cut as works of art should be remarkable in three aspects--calligraphy, composition and the engraver's handwork.Photo Gallery of Chinese Seal-cutting