A seal can mean a wax seal bearing an impressed figure, or an embossed figure in paper, with the purpose of authenticating a document, but the term can also mean any device for making such impressions or embossments, essentially being a mould that has the mirror image of the figure in counter-relief, such as mounted on rings known as signet rings. Molding is the process of Manufacturing by shaping pliable raw material using a rigid frame or model called a pattern. This article is concerned with devices and methods for making such imprints.
If the imprint is made as a relief resulting from the greater pressure on the paper where the high parts of the seal touch, the seal is known as a dry seal; in all other cases a liquid or liquified medium (such as ink or wax) is used, usually in another color than the paper's.
Sigillography is the term used for the study of seals. Sigillography (sometimes referred to under its Greek name of Sphragistics) is one of the Auxiliary sciences of History.
The use of seals, in wax, in lacquer or embossed on paper, to authenticate documents, is a practice as old as writing itself. Sealing wax is a material which after melting quickly hardens (to paper parchment ribbons and wire and other material forming a bond that cannot be separated without noticeable tampering In a general sense lacquer is a clear or coloured Varnish, that dries by solvent evaporation and often a curing process as well that produces a hard durable finish in any Seals of this nature were applied directly to the face of the document or attached to the document by cords in the owner's, or to a narrow strip of the document sliced and folded down as a tail but not detached from the document. This helped maintain authenticity by not allowing the reuse of the seal. If a forger tried to remove the seal in the first case, it would break. In the other cases, although the forger could remove the seal intact by ripping the cords from the paper, he'd still have to separate the cords to attach it to another document, which would destroy the seal as well because the cords had knots tied in them inside the wax seal. Most governments still attach seals to letters patent. Letters patent are a type of Legal instrument in the form of an Open letter issued by a Monarch or Government, granting an office right While many instruments required seals for validity (i. Legal instrument is a legal Term of art that is used for any written legal document such as a Certificate, a Deed, a will e. the deed or covenant) it is rather uncommon for private citizens to use seals anymore. A deed is a Legal instrument used to grant a Right. Deeds are part of the broader category of documents under seal. A covenant, in its most general sense is a solemn promise to engage in or refrain from a specified action
Seals were also applied to letters and parcels to indicate whether or not the item had been opened since the seal was applied. Seals were used both to seal the item to prevent tampering, as well as to provide proof that the item was actually from the sender and is not a forgery. To seal a letter, for example, a letter writer would compose the letter, fold it over, pour wax over the joint formed by the top of the page of paper, and then impress a ring, metal stamp, or other device. Governments would often send letters to citizens under the governmental seal for their eyes only. These were called letters secret. Seals are no longer commonly used in this way, except for ceremonial purposes.
The most common uses of the seal today are:
Seals were used in the earliest civilizations and are of considerable interest in archaeology. A cylinder seal is a cylinder engraved with a 'picture story' used in ancient times to roll an impression onto a two-dimensional surface generally wet Clay. term " Torah " ( Hebrew: תּוֹרָה "teaching" or "instruction" sometimes translated as "Law" most commonly refers to Archaeology, archeology, or archæology (from Greek grc ἀρχαιολογία archaiologia – grc ἀρχαῖος archaīos In ancient Mesopotamia seals were engraved on cylinders, which could be rolled to create an impression on clay e. Mesopotamia (from the Greek meaning "land between the rivers" is an area geographically located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers largely corresponding A cylinder seal is a cylinder engraved with a 'picture story' used in ancient times to roll an impression onto a two-dimensional surface generally wet Clay. g. , as a label on a consignment of trade goods. From Ancient Egypt seals in the form of signet-rings of kings have been found. Ancient Egypt was an Ancient Civilization in eastern North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now
Recently, seals have come to light in South Arabia datable to the Himyarite age. The Himyarite Kingdom or Himyar (in Arabic مملكة حِمْيَر) anciently called Homerite Kingdom by the Greeks and the Romans One example shows a name written in Aramaic (Yitsḥaq bar Ḥanina) and engraved in reverse so as to be visible in the impression. Aramaic is a Semitic language with
In the Indus Valley Civilization, rectangular seals were used to label trade goods and also had other purposes. The Indus Valley Civilization (Mature period 2600&ndash1900 BCE abbreviated IVC, was an ancient Civilization that flourished in the Indus River basin
From the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC until the so-called dark ages, seals of various kinds were in production in the Aegean islands and mainland Greece. In the Early Minoan Age these were formed of soft stone and ivory and show particular characteristic forms. By the Middle Minoan Age a new set for seal forms, motifs and materials appear. Hard stone requires new rotary carving techniques. The Late Bronze Age is the time par excellence of the lense-shaped seal and the seal ring. The term Bronze Age refers to a period in human cultural development when the most advanced Metalworking (at least in systematic and widespread use included techniques for
Known as 印章 (Pinyin: yin4zhang1) in China, dojang or ingam in Korea and inkan or hanko in Japan, ink seals have been used in East Asia as a form of written identification since the invention of writing. Pinyin, more formally Hanyu pinyin, is the most common Standard Mandarin Romanization system in use China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National Korea is a geographic area composed of two sovereign countries a civilization and a former state situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Japan topics. Even in modern times, seals are still commonly used instead of handwritten signatures to authenticate official documents or financial transactions. A signature (from Latin signare, " Sign " is a handwritten (and sometimes stylized depiction of someone's name nickname or even a simple Authentication (from Greek αυθεντικός real or genuine from authentes author is the act of establishing or confirming something (or someone as Both individuals and organizations have official seals, and they often have multiple seals in different sizes and styles for different situations. East Asian seals usually bear the name of the person or organization represented, but they can also bear a poem or a personal motto. Sometimes both types of seals, or one large seal that bears a name and a motto, are used to authenticate official documents. Seals are so important in East Asia that foreigners who frequently conduct business there also commission the engraving of a personal seal.
East Asian seals are carved from a variety of hard materials, including wood, soapstone, seaglass and jade. East Asian seals are traditionally used with a red oil-based paste consisting of finely ground cinnabar, which contrasts with the black ink traditionally used for the ink brush. Cinnabar, sometimes written cinnabarite, is a name applied to red Mercury(II sulfide ( Hg[[sulfide S]] or native Vermilion, the common Ink brushes ( in Japanese fude) are used in Chinese calligraphy. Red chemical inks are more commonly used in modern times for sealing documents. Seal engraving is considered a form of calligraphy in East Asia. Calligraphy (from Greek kallos "beauty" + graphẽ "writing" is the art of writing (Mediavilla 1996 17 Like ink brush calligraphy, there are several styles of engraving. Some engraving styles emulate calligraphy styles, but many styles are so highly stylized that the characters represented on the seal are difficult for untrained readers to identify. Seal engravers are considered artists, and in the past, several famous calligraphers also became famous as engravers. Some seals, carved by famous engravers, or owned by famous artists or political leaders, have become valuable as works of art and history.
Because seals are commissioned by individuals and carved by artists, every seal is unique, and engravers often personalize the seals they create. The material of seal and the style of the engraving are typically matched to the personality of the owner. Seals can be traditional or modern, conservative or expressive. Seals are sometimes carved with a figure on the owner's zodiac animal on the top of the seal. The Chinese Zodiac is a 12 year cycle Each year of the 12 year cycle is named after one of the original 12 animals Seals are also sometimes carved with images or calligraphy on the sides.
Although it is a utilitarian instrument of daily business in East Asia, Westerners and other non-Asians seldom see Asian seals except on Asian paintings and works of calligraphy. All traditional paintings in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and the rest of East Asia are watercolor paintings on silk, paper, or some other surface that the red ink from seals can adhere to. Chinese painting is one of the oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world Japanese art covers a wide range of art styles and media including ancient pottery sculpture in wood and bronze ink painting on silk and paper and a myriad of other types of works of Korean painting includes paintings made in Korea or by overseas Koreans on all surfaces Vietnam (ˌviːɛtˈnɑːm Việt Nam) officially East Asian paintings often bear multiple seals, including one or two seals from the artist, and the seals from the owners of the painting.
East Asian seals are the predecessors to block printing. For the use of the technique in art see Woodcut on the technique and Old master print for the history in Europe and Woodblock printing in Japan.
Signet rings, generally bearing a coat of arms, are made by intaglio engraving, either in metal or gems (generally semiprecious). Intaglio, when used in the context of Jewellery, refers to incised (negative image-making and is the opposite of Cameo. Agate is a frequent material, especially carnelian or banded agate like sardonyx; the banding make the impression contrast with the ground. This article is about the semi-precious stone For other uses see Agate (disambiguation. Carnelian, sometimes spelled cornelian, is a red or reddish-brown variant of Chalcedony. Onyx is a Cryptocrystalline form of Quartz. The colors of its bands range from white to almost every color (save some shades such as purple or blue
Metal signet rings can also be cast, which is cheaper but yields a weaker material.
The wearing of signet rings (from Latin "signum" meaning sign) is a longstanding tradition among nobles in European and some other cultures. In contemporary usage, the signet ring is typically worn on the little finger of either the right or left hand (depending on the country), although some countries have different customs (French and German noblemen, and some Spanish nobles wear it on the ring finger of their left hand; Swiss wear it on the ring finger of their right hand). In the United Kingdom, signet rings are typically worn on the little finger of the left hand of the bearer and tend to be cast of gold. The ring should be worn with the seal facing outwards to enable wax impressions without removing the ring.
Because it is used to attest the authority of its bearer, the ring has also been seen as a symbol of his power, which is one explanation for its inclusion in the regalia of certain monarchies. Regalia is Latin Plurale tantum for the privileges and the insignia characteristic of a Sovereign. After the death of a Pope, the smashing of his signet ring is a prescribed act clearing the way for the sedevacancy and subsequent election of a new Pope. Sede vacante is the vacancy of the Episcopal see of a Particular church in the Canon law of the Roman Catholic Church.
Signet rings are also used as souvenir or membership attribute, e. g. class ring (typically bear the coat of arms or crest of the school), as an alternative to one with a stone. A class ring (also known as a graduate senior ring or grad ring is a ring worn by Students and Alumni to commemorate their Graduation A coat of arms or armorial bearings (often just arms for short in European tradition is a design belonging to a particular person (or group of people
The wearing of a signet ring is declining as the European aristocracy dimishes however noble families have upheld long standing traditions of wearing signet rings for centuries. Sometimes the initials of the individual are engraved into the ring if the person is not of noble descent and does not have the right to bear arms.
The use of a seal by men of wealth and position was common before the Christian era, so naturally high functionaries of the Church would adopt the habit as soon as they became socially and politically important. An incidental allusion in one of St. Augustine's letters (217 to Victorinus) lets us know that he used a seal. The practice spread and it seems to be taken for granted by king Clovis at the very beginning of the Merovingian period (Monum. The Merovingians (also Merovings) were a Salian Frankish dynasty that came to rule the Franks in a region (known as Francia in Latin German. Histor. : Leg. , II, 2).
Later ecclesiastical synods require that letters under the bishop's seal should be given to priests when for some reason they lawfully quitted their own proper diocese. A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight A priest or priestess is a person having the authority or power to administer religious rites in particular rites of sacrifice to and propitiation of a deity or deities So it was enacted at Chalon-sur-Saône in 813. Pope Nicholas I in the same century complains that the bishops of Dôle and Reims had contra morem sent their letters to him unsealed (Jaffé, "Regesta", nn. Pope 2789, 2806, 2823). The custom of bishops possessing seals may from this date be assumed to have been pretty general. At first they were only used for securing the document from impertinent curiosity and the seal was commonly attached to the ties with which it was fastened. When the letter was opened by the addressee, the seal was necessarily broken. Later the seal served as an authentication and was attached to the face of the document. The deed was thus only held to be valid so long as the seal remained intact. It soon came to follow from this point of view that not only real persons like kings and bishops, but also every kind of body corporate, cathedral chapters, municipalities, monasteries etc. In accordance with Canon law, a cathedral chapter is a body of clerics ( chapter) formed to advise a Bishop and in the case of a vacancy in the bishop’s , also required a common seal to validate the acts which were executed in their name.
During the early Middle Ages seals of lead, or more properly "bullae" (from the Latin for lead), were in common use both in East and West, but except in the case of the papal chancery, these leaden authentications soon went out of favour in western Christendom and it became the universal practice to take the impressions in wax. Bulla (plural Bullae) is a lump of clay molded around a cord and stamped with a seal. The Chancery of Apostolic Briefs (also known as the Papal, Apostolic or Roman Chanc(ellery) is a former office of the Roman Curia, merged into In England hardly any waxen seals have survived of earlier date than the Norman Conquest. In the British Museum collection the earliest bishop's seals preserved are those of William of St. Carileph, Bishop of Durham (1081-96) and of St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (1093-1109). See also List of Bishops of Durham The Bishop of Durham is the Anglican Bishop responsible for the Diocese of Durham in Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033 &ndash April 21, 1109) was an Italian medieval Philosopher, theologian, and church official
The importance of the seal as a means of authentication necessitated that when authority passed into new hands the old seal should be destroyed and a new one made. When the pope dies it is the first duty of the Cardinal Camerlengo to obtain possession of the Fisherman's Ring, the papal signet, and to see that it is broken up. Ring of the Fisherman, also known as the Piscatory Ring and the Pescatorio (in Italian) is an official part of the regalia worn by the A similar practice prevailed in the Middle Ages and it is often alluded to by historians, as it seems to have been a matter of some ceremony. Thus we are concisely told: "There died in this year Robert de Insula, Bishop of Durham. After his burial, his seal was publicly broken up in the presence of all by Master Robert Avenel. " (Histor. Dunel. Scrip. Tres. , p. 63). Matthew Paris gives a similar description of the breaking of the seal of William, Abbot of St. Albans, in 1235.
A related practice is found among blacksmiths: their touchmark (a stamp used on the hot metal to show who made it) is destroyed upon their death.
The expression "Seal of Approval" refers to a formal approval, regardless whether it involves a seal or other external marking, by an authoritative person or institute. This article concerns a doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church only Record sealing is the practice of sealing or in some cases destroying court records that would otherwise be publicly accessible as Public records The term is derived from A certification mark on a commercial product indicates five things The existence of a legal follow-up or Product certification agreement between the manufacturer
It is also part of the formal name of certain quality marks, such as: