China's prestigious seal carving art, which prevailed since the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), has become more popular worldwide, receiving a boost from its use as the emblem for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
The emblem of "Chinese Seal Dancing Beijing" was chosen three months ago as the emblem for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, beating thousands of other entries.
The Chinese seal, as well as the words of "Beijing 2008" and the five Olympic rings in the emblem, will be printed on the Olympic flag and known to more people all over the world.
Experts said the calligraphic style of "Beijing 2008" matches well with the seal that is imbued with traditional Chinese culture.
The birth of the "Chinese Seal Dancing Beijing" will play an important role in carrying forward the traditional cultures of the nation and promoting cultural exchange and integration between China and the world, according to Xu Jiang, vice president of the Xiling Seal Carving Society.
The society, located at the foot of a mountain by the well-known West Lake in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, attracted more than 2,000 artists, calligraphers and fans from home and abroad to celebrate the society's 100th anniversary.
The artists and seal-carving fans came from about 20 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in the mainland, and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Canada and France.
Seal carving, an indispensable part of Chinese traditional art, now has become more popular both in southeast Asia and the European and American regions.
As seals were a symbol of authority and credit in the past, seal carving has gradually developed into an art form and gained popularity across the country since the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties.
In 1904, four proponents initiated the Xiling Seal Carving Society by the West Lake in Hangzhou, capital city of the province, aiming to protect and study the art.
At the great reputation of Wu Changshuo, leading scholar on sphragistics and initial president of the society, Xiling quickly had a large following, who learned from each other by exchanging views on seal-carving art.
Some overseas fans were attracted to the society by its fame and became its initial overseas members. Chinese seal carving spread to Japan, the Republic of Korea and southeast Asia.
Thanks to the efforts of the society and government, the state-level China's Sphragistics Museum was set up in 1999 and has received over 300,000 visitors since then.
With about 300 members today at home and abroad, the society has significant influence both in the country and in other areas of the world.
(Xinhua News Agency November 25, 2003)