This ink pad is what is known as Inju, a pad of traditional Korean ink made from mugwort. Inju are normally used for seals and stamps that have a legal effect and are the equivalent of a personal signature in official documents, contracts, art, or similar items. This ink pad is manufactured by a company that has focused solely on manufacturing traditional ink since 1946. The company is responsible for producing the ink for the state seal of Korea, and accordingly, the stamp pad uses the highest quality ink, which will not smudge, or lose its color. The smell of the mugwort is still apparent in the ink, as a lasting testament to its quality.
In addition to use with a rubber stamp, the pad is also ideal for Jijang, the act of dipping one’s thumb into an ink pad to make a fingerprint. Jijang is commonly used in public offices and on important documents or contracts, with the same legal significance and effect as a signature. It is a public expression about promise, contract, pledge, and oath, and much like the seal of western nobles and royalty, Jijang is also a means of presenting oneself.