Seal (East Asia)

Stamp used in place of a signature in East Asia / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A seal, in an East and Southeast Asian context, is a general name for printing stamps and impressions thereof which are used in lieu of signatures in personal documents, office paperwork, contracts, art, or any item requiring acknowledgement or authorship. On documents they were usually used to print an impression using a pigmented paste or ink, unlike the wax impression commonly used in Europe. Of Chinese origin, the process soon spread beyond China and across East and Southeast Asia. Various countries in these regions currently use a mixture of seals and hand signatures, and, increasingly, electronic signatures.[1]

Quick facts: Seal, Chinese name, Traditional Chinese,...
徐永裕印 Xú Yǒngyù yìn, rotating characters meaning "Seal of Xú Yǒngyù")
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese印鑑 or 圖章 or 印章
Simplified Chinese印鉴 or 图章 or 印章
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabetấn triện or ấn chương or ấn tín[note 1]
Chữ Hán印篆 or 印章 or 印信
Korean name
Hangul인감 or 도장 or 인장
Hanja印鑑 or 圖章 or 印章
Mongolian name
Mongolian CyrillicТамга
Mongolian scriptᠲᠠᠮᠠᠭ᠎ᠠ
Japanese name
Kanji印鑑 or 印章 or 判子

Chinese seals are typically made of stone, sometimes of metals, wood, bamboo, plastic, or ivory, and are typically used with red ink or cinnabar paste (Chinese: 朱砂; pinyin: zhūshā). The word 印 ("yìn" in Mandarin, "in" in Japanese and Korean, "ấn" and "in" in Vietnamese) specifically refers to the imprint created by the seal, as well as appearing in combination with other morphemes in words related to any printing, as in the word "印刷", "printing", pronounced "yìnshuā" in Mandarin, "insatsu" in Japanese. In the western world, Asian seals were traditionally known by traders as chop marks or simply chops, a term adapted from the Hindi chapa and the Malay cap,[2] meaning stamp or rubber stamps.

In Japan, seals, referred to as inkan (印鑑) or hanko (判子), have historically been used to identify individuals involved in government and trading from ancient times. The Japanese emperors, shōguns, and samurai had their personal seals pressed onto edicts and other public documents to show authenticity and authority. Even today, Japanese citizens' companies regularly use name seals for the signing of a contract and other important paperwork.[3]