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Seal script/篆書体(てんしょたい)

Meaning of family crests/家紋の意味

Meaning and History of the fabric patterns/文様の意味・歴史

Seal script (Chinese: 篆書; pinyin: zhuànshū) is an ancient style of writing Chinese characters that was common throughout the latter half of the 1st millennium BC. It evolved organically out of the Zhou dynasty script.

The Qin variant of seal script eventually became the standard, and was adopted as the formal script for all of China during the Qin dynasty. It was still widely used for decorative engraving and seals (name chops, or signets) in the Han dynasty.

The literal translation of the Chinese name for seal script, 篆書 (zhuànshū), is decorative engraving script, a name coined during the Han dynasty, which reflects the then-reduced role of the script for the writing of ceremonial inscriptions.






Comparison of regular font and seal script/篆書の見た目


  • Chinese characters for the words ‘seal script’ in regular script (left) and seal script (right).
  • 篆書」という文字の中国の一般的な漢字書体(左)と篆書体(右)。

Historical usage of seal script/篆書の昔の使用例


  • Edict of the second Qin emperor, in seal script.
  • 廿六年詔権量銘(紀元前221年)。

Modern usage of seal script in Japan/現代の日本での使用例

  • On the front cover of the Japanese passport, in seal script.
  • 日本国旅券の表紙。上部に篆書体で「日本国旅券」と書かれている。

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