Red Ink (Cinnabar) and Chops

Chops and inks

After finding the amazing, little Uni travel red stamp pad, I started nosing around a bit more looking for more information about Asian seals and chops. In China, stamps of all sorts were used to mark documents official, especially if they had to do with paying taxes or to validate a document like a signature. These sorts of stamps are also used for art and printmaking and in Asian calligraphy. There’s some decent informatio on wikipedia if you’re curious.

Once I started thinking about the stamps and seals, I remembered that I had other stamps and another stamp pad. Both of my other chops were gifts from China from friends and family carved into marble (notice they are both supposed to be my name but use completely different characters?). I also discovered that I had another stamp pad that came in a ceramic dish. The stamp ink turned out to be more of a paste and created a wonderful, deep rich red color. I tested both the paste and the Uni travel pad with all of my chops as well as a rubber stamp, just to see how they performed. I prefer the color of the paste as it is so vivid but the container was designed to accommodate the size of a chop and nothing more. The paste was also not designed to travel as the lid just sits on top of it. The Uni travel pad is slightly convex so you can tap along the surface of the pad so you are not limited in the size of stamp you can use.

I was able to Google “red paste calligraphy” or “seal paste red” and find a variety of options under $5. Some of them were called “Yinni” so if you are curious about this, that might be a good place to start. So, for travel, find a Uni or other stamp pad that can be sealed tightly. For sheer color, find a more paste-like “pad”.

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  1. Both seals say “Ana”. One on the left is a more conventional phonetic transliteration of “Ana”, and the one on the left contains characters that correspond to the syllables of “Ana”.
    Good finds!

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