The exact use of Ba-Shu seals and the meaning of the seals, which are composed of unusual symbols, are still unknown.
Another Ba-Shu seal with a rhinoceros-shaped knob, unearthed in 1954 at Dongsunba, Baxian county, Sichuan province, is illustrated in Sichuan chuanguanzang fajue baogao (Report on the Excavation of Boat Burials in Sichuan), Beijing, 1960, p. 60:8 and pl. 36:5. Based on the coins found in the tomb, it has been dated to the late period of burials with boat-shaped coffins, which are thought to have ceased in the early years of the Western Han dynasty. This would therefore date the excavated rhinoceros seal, and the present seal, to the late Warring States to early Western Han period, late 4th-3rd century BC.
The three glyphs, set within a rectangular border, which comprise the seal, are known from other Ba-Shu seals and objects. They are thought to resemble Chinese characters, but are probably significant only as Ba-Shu symbols.