The seal, a longitudinal one in green Jade, represents a roaring imperial lion with the mouth towards the sky. The base of the seal has the four small seal script characters (as you can see it has a fissure). It seems to be from the Empress Wu Zetian (690-705).

I did my research and find out the following: 子古杀天, Zi gǔ shā tiān, Emperor Wu Zetian

古 Antiquity 天 Sky 子 Son 杀 Kill Gǔ zi tiān tiáo

Please find below the seal mirror image: Wu Zetian Seal Mirror Image

Many Thanks in advance.

  • Almost! That’s 希, not 杀 (no Simplified Chinese on seals!). Also the reading order is unusual, it’s supposed to be 古希天子.
    – dROOOze
    Dec 22, 2021 at 20:19
  • “It seems to be from the Empress Wu” how do you know this info? may i ask 😸 Dec 22, 2021 at 23:57
  • Yes, because the seal belongs to the Private Collection, of an Antiques Collector friend of mine
    – Aurelio RZ
    Dec 23, 2021 at 10:30
  • @dROOOze, Thank you very much for your information it has been very useful.
    – Aurelio RZ
    Dec 23, 2021 at 10:32
  • Water Alley: Yes, because the seal belongs to the Private Collection, of an Antiques Collector friend of mine (more than 40 years of experience), and we did previous research on the seal. We are also dating the material. Thank you very much for your comment.
    – Aurelio RZ
    Dec 23, 2021 at 10:37

1 Answer 1


Searching for 天希古子 yielded https://www.dpm.org.cn/Uploads/pdf/1945/T00044_00.pdf which pictures the same characters in a "coin shape" pattern

希 古

therefore likely to be read as 古希天子, for which there are many more search results. The phrase is apparently to be rendered as 古稀天子, was a favorite of the 清乾隆皇帝 Qing Dynasty Qianlong emperor. One explanation goes as follows: "乾隆皇帝,喜爱书法、好作诗文、精通文玩、具有很高的艺术鉴赏力。他在八十岁时,自称为十全老人、古希天子。"—"The Qianlong emperor enjoyed calligraphy, liked to write poems, had literary skills and a strong appreciation for the arts. When he turned 80, he styled himself 十全老人 'a perfect / complete oldster' and 古希天子 'an old and rare Son of Heaven'". The interpretation of the latter phrase is corroborated by this page which renders it as 'Rare 70-year-old Son of Heaven'.

Also see https://ppfocus.com/0/cu047edea.html, which seems to imply that 古希天子稱呼,來源於乾隆時期 "The appellation 古希天子 has its origins in the 乾隆 Qianlong period (1736—1796)", so... quite a while after 武則天 (624—705).

  • Thank you again John for your information. My comments regarding them are, that your information is based on an arrangement of the script in a circular shape. If we adhere to the old writing rule (up-down, wrigt-left), we have a square arrangement, and going up-down, wright left, we have: 天希古子: Tianxi Guzi, Tiān xī gǔ zi. The first horizontal line we have: 天古, Tiān gǔ, Tiangu The second horizontal line we have: 希子, Xīzi, Kiko And putting them together, we have: 天古希子: Tiān gǔxī zi, Tian Gu Xizi The analysis of the stone will provide a date on when was made.
    – Aurelio RZ
    Dec 29, 2021 at 11:12

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