The carved seal, known as a chop, is an ancient Chinese art-form that combines calligraphy and engraving.

Derived from the Hindi word “Chapa”, the earliest known seals are dated to the Shang Dynasty, over 3,000 years ago.

The chop is more than just a stamp of personal identity, but is considered an integral part of the finished composition.

The artist completes the artwork with the impression of the chop using a special red paste traditionally made from finely pulverized cinnabar, mixed with castor oil and silk strands.

The stamp is said to enhance the artwork, just as dessert enhances one’s dinner.

“Some years ago, a master engraver in China was asked to design a chop for me, and came up with hieroglyphics signifying ‘Great Knowledge’. I really like that.

I apply the chop on my photographs because that desire that we all have to better ourselves, to evolve to our fullest potential is Great Knowledge.

I hope the prints will evoke something in you and enhance and inspire that experience of learning.”

– Prem Rawat