AD 215-220(Late Eastern Han dynasty)
Height I9 cm, Seal Face 2.4 x 2.4 cm
Excavated at Shiqiao Zhen, Nanyang, Henan Province, I95
This seal, cast of gold, has on its top a tortoise-shaped knob. Its face has the characters ‘Guanzhong Hou Yin, Seal of the Lord of Guanzhong (关中候印)’ in intagliated carving(negative legend). The casting is finely detailed and the seal script characters thick and unadorned.
The Sanguo Zhi (History of the Three Kingdoms), Wei Zhi(Historyof the Wei Kingdom) and Wudi Ji (Records of Emperor [Han]Wudi) show that the title Lord of Gutanzhong was established in AD 2I5. At this time Caocao, a famous warlord and statesman from the late Eastern Han occupied a position of prominence, and wielded great power at court.
The titles he established, ‘Lord of Guanzhong' and ‘Lord of Guannei’, bestowed a lofty status with no real power. The granting of such titles was his first step in attacking and restricting the power of the various kings and feudal lords. An exemplary model of the intagliated official seals of the Eastern Han, it is of great significance for research into the political system and official titles of the late Eastern Han, as well as the arts of gold casting and seal script carving from that period.