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The Anatomy of a Seal: the Matrix

Missenden Abbey seal

The matrix is usually created 'intaglio' which means cuts are made into its surface to make an image. When pressed into a hot surface such as wax, an impression is made in 'relief': that is the design is formed above the surface of the wax.

Matrices might either create a single impression on one side of the wax, or an impression on both sides. The impression on the front is known as the 'obverse' side, and the rear is the 'reverse'.

 

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