The importance of the Seal

The Imperial Mark or ‘Nianhao’ placed under a work of art or a snuff bottle, represents to us that it is clear we are face to face with a quality produced item, being made or coming from Imperial Workshops, and this item is somewhat bound to the Emperor to whom the seal may belong; perhaps as his gift to some important people, or to any of his Court Members to point out some festivity or occurrence. The listed characters (sometimes six or four) either bear the sign ‘Nian Zhi’ (made under) or less often bear ‘Yu zhi’ (made by Imperial Command)


  • Seal Mark of the Empress Ci Xi (1862- 1908 period of regency)

  • ‘Longevity-wealth-honour’

  • ‘Chen Yiting’s seal(1895-1948) master decorator of porcelains also signing Peigu Zhai, Yuan Shi Kai’s Age

  • ‘Hongxian = Made during Hongxian’s period (1916-1920)’, related to a porcelain snuff bottle

  • ‘Chen Guozhi Zuo = Made by Chen Guazhi’, from an enamelled biscuit snuff bottle. Age 1820-1860

  • ‘Qingxiang = Pure and fragrant’, taken from a biscuit made snuff bottle, age 1820-1860

  • Archaic, not yet deciphered inscription,’Tian Chuan Shi = Made by Tian Chuan Shi’, taken from a Yixin gres snuff bottle about 1816

  • ‘Cin Lin= Nanking’, part of an inscription over a snuff bottle carved in ivory, dated 1917 and signed: Shi Shou


    Sign: Shi Shou

  • ‘Made in Guangdong province’

  • ‘Talent that cannot be giving more’ age 1875-1908 from an overlay snuff bottle perhaps a gift from Guangdong Province to the Emperor Guanxu