Stone Stamps


Long before rubber was invented to make stamps, in the ancient times, Chinese people mainly used stone to create their stamps. In the beginning, stone stamps were functional—–they were created to represent their signature, to stamp on something that they own, or on some kind of written agreement which they had approved. These signature stamps were theoritically unique with authority.

I love the texture of stone stamps. Something rubber/eraser stamps cannot replace. The more I learn about stone stamps, the more I like them. First of all, you have to learn to choose a good stone. That’s already a course itself, I would say. My first stone stamp teacher was a retired Japanese gentleman. We had a chance to visit one of the most popular stationery shops in Tokyo for stone stamps, and my first mission was to choose several good stones out of a box of hundreds of them. That’s something I would not do when choosing eraser boards, as the boards itself are all standard under each brand. Skillful stone stamp carvers always pick the best stones at first sight. The more experienced you are, the better you could pick good stones.

Today I went to China to pick some stones for stamps. What my teacher told me was true: stone, just like other natural resources, are running out quickly. Good stones are scarce and are not easy to be found. And yes, once again, there are things money cannot buy. There are expensive stamps in many shops, but you can still find cracks here and there, and the shop assistant would not admit till you show them. It’s very much up to you to find your good stamps, and it’s more like a treasure hunt.

Perhaps that’s the fun part in stone stamps.


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