Splendid World of Humble Seal Knob – Legacy of Master Liao Te-Liang


The artisanship of seal knob originated from the period of Shang and Chou Dynasties, when the professional seal workers cast and carved out works more in the standard forms. In Ming and Qing Dynasties, through the involvement by literati, the trend of using dolomites as the material for seal engraving rose, and the seal knob carving thus became popular as well. Besides the inheritance of the traditional forms of seal knob carving, the literary elegance and amusement were also introduced. In terms of form, it often emphasizes a seal knob that echoes with the seal scripts. As such, it serves as a symbol for the mind, for laudation, or for self-reminder that oftentimes bestows a distinctive touch upon the seal knob.

Following the retreat of the nationalist government to Taiwan, maestros that used to live in different corners of the Mainland China converged on the island named Formosa. Artisan LIAO De-Liang practiced wood sculpture when he was young. After the referral by his master, he acquired the art of seal knob carving and restoration as well as stone identification from CHEN Ke-Luo, the successor of “Qingzhitian” Seal Studio in Fuzhou rich in history. Through his exchanges with collectors of calligraphy, ink wash paintings, and seal engraving, Liao has elevated the seal knob artisanship from the processing of featured artifacts to a practice in line with the elegant amusement of the ancient literati. His artisanship is filled with a dense palette of culture, known for its graceful amusement of antiquity. The works are either full of majestic prowess or artful creativity. With his exceptional artistry, Liao exhibits unique ingenuity in simplicity, thus known by the name “Yi-Dao” (One Knife).

His unceasing production and learning for six decades came to fruition as the revival of the seal knob artisanship in Taiwan. While constantly producing works, Liao also sets his eyes on cultivation of the next-generation creative talents. He transformed the thinking born from his decades of artistic practices into nutrients for education, so as to pass on the vital momentum of the traditional art school of seal knob with a long history.


LIAO De-Liang, HUANG Hsin-Yin, LUO Shu-Chiao, CHEN Pei-Yi