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Gold “Seal of the Great Qing Succession of the Son of Heaven”

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Period: Chongde reign (1636–1643), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: Dimension: 7.6 cm x 7.9 cm x 7.9 cm

This square seal has a gilded-silver decorative knob in the design of two entwined dragons and an inscription in both Chinese and Manchu seal scripts. Ranked third among the twenty-five most treasured Qing-dynasty (1644–1911) seals, the seal bears the inscription “Seal of the Great Qing Succession of the Son of Heaven” (Daqing si tianzi bao). In the thirteenth year (1748) of the Qianlong reign (1736–1795), the emperor stated in his Preface to the Treasure Collection of the Hall of Union (Jiaotai dian baopu xu), “Classified with imperial jade seals, this one has an inscription in Manchu seal script. Passed down from the time of Taizong, Emperor Wen (r. 626–649), the four most treasured seals have been preserved from the reigns of previous emperors, and one dares not heedlessly alter them.” The four most treasured seals were the white jade “Seal of the Great Qing Receiving the Mandate of Heaven” (Daqing shouming zhi bao) with a coiled dragon knob, green jade “Seal of the Emperor Receiving the Mandate of Heaven” (Huangdi fengtian zhi bao) with a coiled dragon knob, this “Seal of the Great Qing Succession of the Son of Heaven”, and the green jade “Seal of the Emperor” (Huangdi zhi bao) with Manchu inscription and entwined dragons. These four imperial seals were in fact crafted after 1636 when Hong Taiji, the Chongde Emperor (r. 1636–1643), officially established the Qing dynasty. Thus, the “Seal of the Great Qing Succession of the Son of Heaven” was inherited from previous reigns. The different textures, knob styles, and inscriptions of the four most treasured seals suggest that they were made in different periods.

Silver Seal-Box with Gold Dragons on Blue Ground
Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Kangxi reign (1662–1722)
Dimension: 17 cm × 17 cm × 17 cm

This seal box is made of silver and topped with a knob of two dragons. The cover is embellished with dragons among clouds. The dragons have long, slender bodies while the clouds are portrayed in dynamic fashion. The bottom of the box is square and undecorated. This box was designed to contain “Seal of the Great Qing Succession of the Son of Heaven”, one of the twenty-five most important imperial seals.
 

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