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Seal paste box

Seal paste box

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1555 (dated)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Soapstone, carved

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    China, Room 44, The T.T. Tsui Gallery, case 65 []

This small box was a container of seal paste, a red paste with which an artist or collector affix his seal on a painting or other works of art on paper. This box bears the signature of Wen Peng (1498-1573), a renowned calligrapher who enjoyed a successful official career in the Ming dynasty bureaucracy.

Physical description

Soapstone seal paste box, six-lobed, the top carved with a single stylised chi-dragon encircling a recessed panel of wave diaper, the sides of the lower half decorated with incised lines and small panels of diagonal hatching, the interior retains traces of seal vermilion.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1555 (dated)



Materials and Techniques

Soapstone, carved

Marks and inscriptions

Incised on the base in fluent cao shu, 'Jiajing geng xu mu chun zhi chu Chang zhou Wen Peng'
At the beginning of the last month of spring, geng xu year of the Jiajing reign
From Register, the rest of the inscription as yet unread.
CC 15/8/1986


Height: 2.2 cm, Diameter: 5.5 cm

Object history note

Bought from Lady Garner, formerly on loan to the V&A

Descriptive line

Seal paste box, carved soapstone, China, Ming dynasty, Jiajing reign period (1522-1566), dated 1550

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Clunas, Craig. Chinese Carving. London: Sun Tree Publishing Ltd in association with the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1996. p. 81, figs. 94-95.

Labels and date

Box and cover, soapstone
Dragon and waves
Dated 1550 A.D.
FE. 27&A-1985 []





Subjects depicted





East Asia Collection

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