Kangxi seals are extremely rare as only a limited number of these were produced during the Kangxi reign. The present seal chops are recorded in the Baosou, 'Concourse of Treasures', compiled during the reign of Qianlong Emperor (1736-1795). The Baosou documented every seal that belonged to Qianlong's forefathers which he himself deemed important, including those of his own seals.
Although a number of Qianlong seals have been offered at auction, there are very few examples of Kangxi seals in private collections. Compare with the set of Peiwen Zhai seals sold in these Rooms, 13 July 2003 (Catalogue dated 28 April 2003), lot 535. As with the Peiwen Zhai seals from Kangxi's study of the same name, the present pair of soapstone seals were the Emperor's personal seals rather those used for official function. The seal carved with the characters, Sanwu Jiuyou, 'The Three Voids and Nine Districts', is a Confucian reference to the aspirations of a virtuous rule and kingship. The meaning of the second seal chop characters, Rijing Yunshen, may be translated: 'As brightly reflected as the sun and extensive as the clouds', which alludes to the imagery of a peaceful nation. An essay expounding the meaning of these seals by Guo Fuxiang is published in the present Catalogue.