Our seal depicts in an archaic style a chilong dragon and its cub. Delicately modelled in the round, the detailed and sinuous forms of these mythical creatures contrast with the angularity of the seal. However, this is a common shape for knobs of imperial seals since the First Emperor's Seal of Transmission of the Realm.
We can compare the shape and composition of our seal to the rare Imperial white jade ‘Yongzheng Yubi Zhi Bao’ seal sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 7th April 2015, lot 102, which depicts as well a square form seal with thick sides surmounted by a ferocious chilong with a well-defined muscular body and brushy tail but surrounded with 8 smaller chilong (Fig. 2).
We can also correlate our seal shape to the Imperial white jade ‘Xiumu Jiayin’ seal, Qing Dynasty, Jiaqing period, of slightly bigger size, sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 8th October 2013, lot 3071. The chilong and its cub are powerfully carved in the same face to face position, on a very similar square base (Fig. 3).
This chilong and cubs design can be found on many other Imperial seals such as the ‘You Ri Zi Zi’ spinach-green jade seal sold at Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 8th October 2008, lot 2008.
Without a doubt, our seal has all the esthetical criteria and this smooth and powerful carving to be compared in quality and appearance with the Imperial seals described above.
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