The red paste used for seal ink and impressing is made from finely pulverized cinnabar (mercuric sulphide), mixed with a seed oil from Fukien Tea (the best) or caster oil, which has been exposed to the sun for three years, then added to the finely ground cinnabar. Although seal ink is not a watercolor, it is used to sign a piece of calligraphy or an Oriental-style painting. A chop, which is like a rubber stamp made of wood or bone, has the artist's name or symbols carved on the face. The face of the chop is pressed gently into the surface of the seal ink (sometimes it is necessary to touch the seal ink several times to collect enough ink on the chop's surface). In some traditions, the seal is placed so that it just touches the edge of the still damp ink, or watercolor, because the slight mixing that occurs is impossible to forge, and the original can be proved.
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