Bronze Seal with the Surname Wang in Phagspa ScriptBronze Seal with the Surname Wang in Phagspa Script

 

Bronze Seal with
the Surname Wang in Phagspa Script

Yuan Dynasty (1260-1368)
Length: 1.99 cm, width: 1.12 cm, height: 1.25 cm

 

This was the private seal of an individual with the surname Wang, which is here composed in Phagspa script. It was in 1264 that Khubilai Khan ordered his imperial precept Phagspa (a high Tibetan monk) to create a new system of writing for this part of the empire (hence the name). This form of writing is based on a phonetic rendering of Mongolian and was used widely in Yuan period decrees and orders as well as for seals. In addition to transliterating the Chinese Classics, it was also used for the languages of Mongolian, Tibetan, Sanskrit, and Uighur. With the founding of the Yuan dynasty in 1271, Khubilai ordered that seals be composed in Phagspa script, thereby further expanding the use of this form of writing. Surviving seals today appear in regular and clerical forms of Phagspa writing. The latter involves the use of vertical and horizontal strokes, which derive from T'ang and Sung derivations of clerical type.