• with a 'real' stone seal. The desired seal image is carved (in reverse) on a blank seal (made of stone, ivory, bone or plastic), and is then stamped on the paper, using a vermillion pigment.
• printed in the normal fashion from a woodblock. The image is carved on a woodblock, in exactly the same way as the rest of the print. It is then printed as just another 'colour' of the print, either in a press, or with a baren.
Making 'real' seals is an art in itself, and I don't have much experience with it. I use one here in Japan for my personal affairs (banking, etc.). I carved it myself from a small stone 'blank', of a type available at any stationery store.
Contemporary print artists here in Japan frequently use this method for sealing their prints, but in the 'old days' the 'carved on the block' method was used almost exclusively. The seals you see on prints designed by such people as Hiroshige are all carved on the blocks.
This rest of this page will deal with that method.
n this Japanese name, the family name is Kitagawa.
Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese: 喜多川 歌麿; c. 1753 – 31 October 1806) was a Japanese artist. He is one of the most highly regarded practitioners of the ukiyo-e genre of woodblock prints, especially for his portraits of beautiful women, or bijin-ga. He also produced nature studies, particularly illustrated books of insects.
Utamaro's work reached Europe in the mid-nineteenth century, where it was very popular, enjoying particular acclaim in France. He influenced the European Impressionists, particularly with his use of partial views and his emphasis on light and shade, which they imitated. The reference to the "Japanese influence" among these artists often refers to the work of Utamaro.