general term for the various writing styles of Chinese characters in the latter half of the 1st millennium BCE
Seal script (Chinese: 篆書; pinyin: zhuànshū) is an ancient style of writing Chinese characters that was common throughout the latter half of the 1st millennium BC. It evolved organically out of the Zhou dynasty script. The Qin variant of seal script eventually became the standard, and was adopted as the formal script for all of China during the Qin dynasty. It was still widely used for decorative engraving and seals (name chops, or signets) in the Han dynasty. The literal translation of the Chinese name for seal script, 篆書 (zhuànshū), is decorative engraving script, a name coined during the Han dynasty, which reflects the then-reduced role of the script for the writing of ceremonial inscriptions.
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