Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Period (1654-1722)
The soapstone seal depicts a scene of three bifid-tailed chilong dragons writhing amid dense clouds. The seal face is of irregular shape with the characters 如南 山之壽 “Like the longevity of the southern mountains” carved in relief, which alludes to a blessing for the recipient’s line of descendants last as long as the southern mountains. The line is taken from the Shijing 詩經 (Classic of Poetry/ Book of Odes), #166: Xiaoya 小雅 (Lesser Elegentia), 天保 Tianbao “May Heaven Protect You”. The seal is well-patinated to a deep toffee brown colour.