Auspicious (left), 1994 and Return to Simplicity, 1984, Apprenticeship - Chinese seal carving and calligraphy|
Qianshen Bai (b. 1955)
Photography by Jason Dowdle
"We call the chisel an iron brush," says Qianshen Bai. Chinese seal carving is a miniature art. The carver attempts to strike a balance of beauty with meaning, all within one inch. Originating in the Qin dynasty (221 - 210 B.C.) to authenticate documents, seal carving has evolved into an art form with multiple uses: identification; for government purposes; as pictures; and finally, like the ones seen here, for poetry, proverbs, or moral admonitions.