Han Dynasty Pottery Pig Seal Stamp


An Ancient Chinese pottery pig seal stamp, dating from the Han Dynasty period. The top of the seal stamp features a decoration of pig’s head, modelled in relief over the flat square surface, with its large eyes, ears and hollow nostrils naturalistically rendered. On the base of the seal, the printing surface, a square frame and characters are also modelled in relief, possibly the name of the owner. Under the animal’s ears there is a piercing, which was used in ancient times to accommodate a wire that would allow for the carrying of the seal. An extremely interesting and rare object. 

Date: Circa 202 BC-220 AD
Period: Han Dynasty
Provenance: The C. Roger Moss OBE collection. The late C. Roger Moss OBE was a renowned art collector who, throughout the years, thanks to his determination and enthusiasm, was able to create an outstanding collection of artworks, most prominently from China and the Orient, but also from other cultures.
Condition: Very fine, some weathering to the surface due to ageing.


SKU: CS-205 Category: Tag:

Seal stamps are present in a great number of ancient civilisations across the world, as they represented the best means to officially sign or mark documents or property in ancient times. In China, seals started being used in the 3rd Century BC. After the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, founder of the Qin Dynasty, conquered the six Warring States and unified China, he ordered his first imperial seal to be carved using precious white jade stone. The imperial seal was named the “Xi” and only used by those in power for official purposes. The pig here portrayed might be referred to the zodiac animal in the Chinese astrological calendar; however, pigs’ heads were also modelled as miniature votive offerings and placed in the tomb with the deceased as part of mingqi, or burial figures.

To discover more about the Roger Moss Collection, visit our Provenance Collection Page.

Weight 29.3 g
Dimensions L 3.7 cm


Pottery and Porcelain