Seal Ink

Following my blog about my Chinese seal yesterday, I am now going to talk about the other half of the story which is the special red ink that is used with Chinese seals.

Seal ink is nothing like ink for fountain pens or fine liners. It is a thick paste made up of cinnabar (or mercuric sulphide), castor oil and aged mugwort all pulverised and mixed together. Mugwort is a plant.


Another type of seal ink has shreds of silk instead of the mugwort. I don’t know how they came up with these combinations! My ink is the mugwort version, I think. 

You dip the seal into the ink and then press it on the page.  

And you leave a lovely red imprint. When I sign books and use the seal, I always end up with the red ink all over my hands and often on the table cloth, if who ever is hosting me has been kind enough to provide one.

26 responses to “Seal Ink

  1. This is very cool

    It sounds like your interested in china. I am really interested in africa

  2. Hello Carole,
    Yes my name is Ping too.
    I am a big fan of your big adventure of the Dragon keeper
    series. I am Chinese and My favourite mythical creatures are dragons. I love them because of their cunning and bravery and of course their wisdom. I am eleven and I am a left handed girl. I thing it is amazing that the character is so connected with me. I find those books not just books but a part of me. You are a great author and I hope you do another great series set in China.

    Love from Ping

    PS: hope you write back to me.

  3. Ping,
    Lovely to hear from someone called Ping! And a left-handed dragon lover too! I am still working on this dragon series. I have just published book 4. Blood Brothers

  4. Great news!
    Is it suitable for 11 and over readers?
    IT sounds fantastic, and I can’t wait to read it! ( if suitable for my age )
    Hope to see you soon.


  5. that is fantastic!
    I can’t wait to read the series.
    But i don’t think it will be as good as The dragon keeper
    series. They are still my favouirte. ( for now )

    Thanks again.

  6. carole I have one question. i read the blood brothers why dose Kai need another dragon keeper when her already has Ping?

  7. Carole
    I love Dragon Moon but I have one question.
    What happens to Ping and Jun if Blood Brother is 400 years in the future?


  8. Kai,
    There are some clues in Blood Brothers, and even more in the Lost Letter from Ping which is included with copies of Blood Brothers bought from independent bookshops. But, I have left it pretty open. I like to think that readers will imagine that part of the story themselves.

  9. Hello carole!
    It’s me again.
    I have read Blood brothers and it is asome!
    But I would like to ask you two questions.
    1. How does Sha get those iron tip horns?
    2. And will there be another dragon keeper book!?

  10. Hello Carole!
    I have read Dragonkeeper, Garden of the Purple Dragon and Dragon Moon an am now reading Blood Brothers. Your books are fantastic! In fact, if I didn’t go to tuition, I would not be reading the book. In fact they set the book for our work so :P. Luckily, it was the first book! Oh and one more thing. Have you ever come to Hurstville Public School? You see, I’m in OC and have only had one author visit throughout the year. It was Morris. He is a good author, but your books are more entertaining. Could you please come over to HPS? It would be a delight as many people have read your series. In our reading box, from which we borrow books, we also have Ramose: Wrath of Ra, which I absolutely love. Many people have read it and would admire your work greatly. You may find me talkative and I’m sorry for that but I’m just so excited!

  11. Param,
    I am glad you are enjoying my books. No I have never been to Hurstville Public School. They have never invited me. And even if they did, it is a very long way from where I live in Melbourne. I do make some school visits, but I have to spend most of my time writing or there wouldn’t be any books for you to read!

  12. Ping,
    Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. How Sha got iron tips on her horns is a mystery. I think she may have dipped them in molten iron.
    I hope there will be another Dragonkeeper book, but I haven’t started writing it yet.

  13. I understand now. I was really dissapointed that I missed that Ping’s letter. Can I get a copy off your website?
    I am really good at stories I can give you a title of my story I have been thinking of, it’s called: In the shadows. It doesn’t have to be a dragon keeper book. I just hope it’s a good title if you are thinking of another book.
    This is just to help you to get a start.

  14. Hi carole,

    Have you been writing any new books?
    I just want to know what kind of books you like to write,
    because i’m a writer my self.

  15. I am Ping and I keep hearing this odd voice in my head I am left-handed and have this lizard-like creature at home I also have second-sight what’s going on.

  16. Hi Carole,

    I am loving your stories they are so good. I have a story called Dragon Fight don’t know if you are interested. If you are reply.

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