Vegetable Seal — Do It Yourself

With this vegetable seal, we will introduce you to the fun experience of seal engraving. Let’s make interesting seals out of ordinary foods.

Vegetable seal

Confucius Institute Reporter
Zhao Le
本刊记者 赵乐
Chinese characters have a history of thousands of years, and the art of seal engraving has developed throughout this time. In 2009, seal engraving was listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. The seals are mainly carved out of stone, but can also be made of jade, wood, copper or gold. Seals, either for the practical purposes of representing signatures and official positions or simply for appreciation, have developed into an art form. The characters on a seal are usually carved in reverse, either in intaglio or relief. To this day seals still play an important role in life.

In this issue of Handicraft Workshop, we will introduce you to the fun experience of seal engraving. Let’s make interesting seals out of ordinary foods. It’s is only fitting to carve out the Chinese character mă representing ‘horse’ in the Year of the Horse. Let’s DIY!

Create a vegetable seal

Vegetable seal. The mirror image of a character
The mirror image of a character
Vegetable seal
Intaglio, characters carved into the surface
Vegetable seal
Intaglio, characters carved into the surface

1. Tools needed

Vegetable seal
Carrot, potato (or yam, apple etc.)
Vegetable seal
Carver
Vegetable seal
Inkpad (If no inkpad is available, coloured paint works as well.)

2. Characters in intaglio

Vegetable seal
Clean the potato and cut it apart. (The potato should be divided with a single cut to make sure the surface is smooth.)
Vegetable seal
Carve out the shape of a reversed 马 ‘horse’ ensuring that the character is sunken into the surface of the potato. (You can either cut the character into
the potato directly or write the reversed 马 on the surface first.)
Vegetable seal
Cut the potato around the character to form any shape. (It can be in the form of a square, a circle or a diamond.)
Vegetable seal
Dry the surface of the potato and coat it with ink.
Vegetable seal
Covered in white, red and white “horse”, complete.

Vegetable seal

3. Characters in relief

Vegetable seal
Clean the carrot and cut it apart. (The carrot should be divided with a single cut to make sure the surface is smooth.)
Vegetable seal
Retain the pattern of the reversed 马 ‘horse’ and remove the rest of the carrot (make sure the character protrudes above the surface).
Vegetable seal. Dry carrot surface water, stained with ink.
Dry carrot surface water, stained with ink.
Vegetable seal: Finally, stamp the seal on a piece of paper.
Finally, stamp the seal on a piece of paper.

Caution: Kids should use a knife only under the supervision of an adult.


ic_ENG_32-1

Published in Confucius Institute Magazine.
Number 32. Volume III. May 2014.

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