Seal of Empress of the Chin Dynasty–The First Seal of Empress in the Chinese History

Seal of Empress of the Chin Dynasy (B.C.221-B.C.206) ,Measurement: H.7.5cms,W.6cms.Depth 3.2cm, 165grams 

The seal is composed with three parts: The imposing pixie symbolizing the emperor, the lady kneeling on the back of the pixie, symbolizing the empress, the oval stand for the scripts of the seal. The style of the scripts on this seal conforms those of the Chin dynasty. Bronze seals ( around 2.2cm x 2.2cm) of the Palace Museum of Beijing ‘s collection. Especially the last stroke of the seal character of this seal    conforms  the typical lining of the Chin calligraphy( petite sigillaire 小篆 ) style, in particular, the character of 皇, conforms those found unearthed artifacts. The artifact consists aging elements such as diffusive markingsdeteriorate markingscleaving veins, and differential weathering to prove its antiquity. Based on the carving and characters’  styles of the jade seal and its antiquity of evidences, this jade seal is authenticated as genuine Seal of the Express from the Chin Dynasty.

The title of Emperor and  Empress were first appearing in the Chin Dynasty.This is the first  Seal of the Empress  in the Chinese history that makes this seal is an important artifact  and its value is beyond description. According to History of the Former Han Dynasty(漢書), composed by Ban Gu(班固),  First volume, List of High Ranking Officials of Royal Court(百官公卿表上): Zhan Shi詹事, Public official in the Chin Dynasty, Zhan Shi is  responsible for the affairs of the empress and princes’s families. Beginning Learning Record《初學記,compiled by Xu Jian(徐堅) in the Tang Dynasty, Volume 1 Inner Court Section (中宮部) Empress First (皇后第一) mentioned Chin had the title of Emperor, the first wife is called Empress. The Han Dynasty had followed this system. This is the historical record to prove that the Empress title first appeared in the Chin Dynasty and the present Seal of the Empress is the physical evidence to this historical record.

The medium has been tested with GIA Duplex II Refractometer, the refractive index is 1.61 spot reading. It is made of natural nephrite. The carving style of the mouth of the mythical animal is similar to that of the one of the Chin Dynasty. The low relief carving without open work is unique which is different from the other periods(such as Shang and Han). In addition to the scientific evidences of antiquity, one third of the object is fully calcified to form an evidence which seasoned collectors should recognize its genuineness at a first glance( the one eye item in Chinese context).    In terms of historical significance and rareness, the appraisal by taking market approach,   the Seal of Empress of the Chin Dynasty should be extremely  valuable.

Appraisal Indexes:
1. quality of jade: 10
2. rareness: 10
3. historical and cultural significance: 10
4. workmanship: 10
5. size:9
6. condition: 10

Provenance: Private collection, USA

Chin Dynasty (221 BCE- 206 BCE)

Although with short period in the history, the Chin Dynasty reveals the highest achievement in the jades carving techniques. The jades in this period have presented unique kind of double reverse L and square cloud motifs that are the key to identifying jades for this period. The mouth of mythical animal is open with teeth shown but not open work carving. The most important and mysterious jades of Chin are the Seal of the Inherited Empire and the Seal of the Empress.  Most archaeologists expect to find the majority of the Chin jades assuming that they had been kept in the tomb of Emperor Qin Shihuang. The truth can only be found by the time of the excavation of the tomb of Emperor Qin Shihuang.