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Green Jade Seal with Entwined Dragon Knob and "Commemorating Eighty Years of Age" Inscription

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Period: 55th year of the Qianlong reign (1790), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Medium: Jade

The jade seal of dark green colour is surmounted by a knob in the form of two entwined dragons. The seal mark is carved in relief (or positively) in seal script.Bearing the inscription "Seal of the Octogenarian Mindful of the Eight Principles (Bazheng maonian zhi bao, or more figuratively translated as "Commemorating Eighty Years of Age"), this seal was specially carved in 1790 (the fifty-fifth year of the Qianlong reign, 1736-1795) to celebrate the eightieth birthday of the emperor. He personally composed "Essay on the Seal of the Octogenarian Mindful of the Eight Principles" (Bazheng maonian zhi bao ji) to commemorate his longevity.

The term Eight Principles (bazheng) in the section "The Great Plan" (Hongfan) in The Book of Documents (Shangshu, or The Classic of History) refers to affairs of statecraft. The term mao refers to people between the age of eighty and ninety. This seal reveals the Qianlong Emperor's determination to continue working diligently everyday despite his age and shows how he reminded his descendants to follow his example.

Website version edited by Zhuang Ying and Adam J. Ensign

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