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Ink Paste for Seals (Yinni)
The ink paste used for the imprinting of seals is called yinni in Chinese, which means literally "seal clay". It stems from the clay that was used in ancient times to seal official documents and which, like the modern sealing wax, was stamped by a seal. Later on the word yinni began to refer to the traditional equivalent of the inking pad the paste, usually red which gives the seal its colour before it is stamped on paper.
High quality inking paste is made of eight ingredients, some very precious: cinnabar, pearl, musk, coral, ruby, moxa, castor oil and a red pigment. Called the I "paste of eight treasures", it produces brilliantly red prints. Paste of a still higher I grade may contain pure gold and other rare I materials and is so finely made that it may I remain unchanged in hundreds of years. It also emits a faint perfume, and its oil neither oozes in summer nor congeals in winter. Ink paste of this description is greatly valued by painters and collectors.
To make a seal imprint, let the cut face of the seal touch lightly the inking pad several times, take a look and see that it is evenly coloured, place the paper to be stamped on a desk. cushioned beneath with some other paper, and then use the seal lightly on it, holding it for a little while and increasing the pressure of the hand toward the end. An impression made this way, whether of characters or patterns, will be clear, well-defined and nice-looking.
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