Seals: still making an impression

The seals in this exhibition are all hundreds of years old, but seals are not just objects of historical interest. Seals retain their original functions in the modern world. They are still used for securing objects and documents, and continue to provide a means of authentication and validation.

In addition to the continued use of traditional types of seals, new forms of seals and sealing have emerged in recent years. The hologram on a bank card is a form of seal, providing additional authentication in a recognised form. Digital encoding is in many ways a form of sealing and fulfils the same function as ‘real’ seals. Indeed, with the proliferation of electronic signatures and microchips encoded with personal information we are perhaps returning to a culture of sealing which our medieval ancestors would recognise in concept, even if not in form.