Editor's note: Seal-cutting, or "Zhuanke" in Chinese, is a traditional art form combining calligraphy and carving. It refers to cutting a name or pattern into the bottom face of a seal to show ownership or authorship. With a history of more than 3,000 years, this art form was one of the four essential skills required of an ancient Chinese scholar, along with calligraphy, painting and poetry. Today, the seals can be carved into different shapes and styles, with contents ranging from names and official posts to auspicious characters and sketchy graphics. In the following pictures, Chen Lixin, a master in seal-cutting from Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, displays his latest works for the Year of the Monkey – 72 zodiac monkey images. Chen borrows techniques from many other artistic forms such as paper-cutting, clay figure modeling and painting to make the zodiac monkey images with a variety of shapes and postures.
Chen Lixin, a master in seal-cutting from Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, works on the last one of the 72 zodiac monkey images – his latest seal-cutting works for the Year of the Monkey – on Feb. 4, 2016. [Photo by Geng Yuhe/China.com.cn]