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Badaling Great Wall of China
Beijing Duck at QuanJuDe - 1
Beijing Duck at QuanJuDe - 2
Beijing Forbidden City - 1
Beijing Forbidden City - 2
Beijing Forbidden City - 3
Beijing Hutong Tour
Beihai Park Tour
Ming Tombs Lunch
Ming Tombs Tour - 1
Ming Tombs Tour - 2
Ming Dynasty Wax Muesum
Summer Palace Beijing - 1
Summer Palace Beijing - 2
Temple of Heaven Tour - 1
Temple of Heaven Tour - 2
Tiananmen Square China

Diecai Hill - Folded Brocade
Elephant Trunk Hill
Fubo Hill Tour
Guilin To Yangshuo Li River Cruise
Guilin Travel & Arrival
Li River Cruise - 1
Li River Cruise - 2
Liu Sa Jie Park
Ocean Aquarium Tour
Reed Flute Cave Tour
Seven Star Park
Solitary Beauty Peak & Princes City
Xiongsen Bear & Tiger Zoo - 1
Xiongsen Bear & Tiger Zoo - 2
Yangshuo Big Banyan Tree
Yangshuo Ju Long Tan Cave

Haikou Evergreen Park
Haikou Hairui Tomb Tour
Haikou One Day Tour
Haikou Wugong Temple
Sanya City Impressions

Dragon Tower Tour
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Ice and Snow World
Impressions of Harbin City
Saint Sophia Church
Siberian Tiger Park Tour
Songhuajiang Gondola Ride
Stalin Park & Flood Prevention
Sun Island Snow Sculpture Festival

Banpo Village
Bell Tower Tour
Big Wild Goose Pagoda Tour
Drum Tower Tour
Forest of Stone Steles Museum - 1
Forest of Stone Steles Museum - 2
Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang
Shaanxi Province History Museum - 1
Shaanxi Province History Museum - 2
Shaanxi Province History Museum - 3
Small Wild Goose Pagoda
Tang Dynasty Cultural Park - 1
Tang Dynasty Cultural Park - 2
Terra Cotta Warrior & Solder - 1
Terra Cotta Warrior & Solder - 2
Terra Cotta Warrior & Solder - 3
Xian City Wall

Yunnan Dali China
Yunnan LiJiang Old Town
Yunnan Shilin Stone Forest

Suzhou Gardens
Tibet Potala Palace
Tibet Travel in China


Xian Forest of Stone Steles Museum - I

Tour of Xian Forest of Stone Tablets Museum

After I finished with the Bell Tower and Drum Tower tour, I took a taxi to the Xian Forest of Stone Steles Museum, which was about 5 minute drive from the drum tower.

About the Stone Steles Museum

The Xian Stone Tablets Museum contains the largest collection of stone tablets. The museum houses over 3000 stone steles with a history of over 900 years, and these are all treasures of ancient China's calligraphy masterpieces. The museum also has some of the best of the Han and Tang Dynasty stone calligraphy carvings, and it also contains the largest stone tablet library of ancient hisotrical records.

The Xian Forest of Stone Steles was founded in 1087, and contains various stone tablets dating as far back as the Han Dynasty (206BC). The museum is world famous for preserving ancient Chinese stone tablets which record historical events, and cultural developments within China.

stone tablet museum in xian
Main courtyard after entering the front entrance leading to the Stone Tablet Museum.

Xian Stone Tablet Museum Tour

The Xian Forest of Stone Steles Museum is separated into several areas, or "rooms" each displaying various stone tablets. After the front entrance, I came up to the "first room". This display hall contains mainly the "Kaicheng Classics" which contain 12 books that were "must have" books for intellectuals in the feudal society. Some of these books include:

  • The book of changes
  • The book of history
  • The book of songs
  • Account of Rites of the Zhou Dynasty
  • The Qiuming's Commentary on the spring and autumn period annals
  • Gongyang's commentary on the spring and autumn period annals
  • Guliang's commentary on the spring and autumn period annals
  • The Canon of Filial Piety
  • Confucian Analects
  • They Erya

Altogether, about 650,000 some Chinese characters were inscribed on 114 stone tablets (228 double sided).

Now, when I visited, these stone tablets are huge, and place behind protective glass casings. Due to aging and wear and tear, there's typical damage that comes with time, such as chips and cracks.

Xian Stone Steles Museum
Photo of a section of a large stone tablet.

As you can see in the photo above, literally hundreds of thousands Chinese characters are carved into the stone tablet, and if you look closely enough, you'll see a rather large crack in the stone tablet in the top right corner and right side. Although I can manage to read many of the individual characters inscribed, I really have no clue what it's saying. It's like being able to pronounce an english word purely from knowing the alphabet, except having no idea what the word means. :) Within this room, there are information boards that explain in english and chinese what various tablets contain, and highlights their significance.

The Second Room

After finishing my tour of the first room, I headed to the second room. This room mainly consists of famous stone tablets of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). This room contains several stone steles documenting historical cultural exchanges between the Tang Dynasty and foreign countries. Other important stone tablets displayed here include:

  • The stone tablet of Hangfu Dan
  • The stone tablet of Master Monk Dao Yin
  • The stone tablet of the Yan Family shrine
  • The stone tablet of the Xuanmi Pagoda
  • and much more.

Ston tablet
A stone tablet with its base carved in a shape of a turtle.

The Third Room

The third room exhibits stone tablets across several dynasties that bear several styles of ancient Chinese writing. Some of the writing styles exhibited include:

  • Seal style - on the "stone tablet of the preface to the poem of the Meiyuan Mystical Spring"
  • Official script shown on the "stone tablet of Cao Quan"
  • Regular script displayed on "the Stone tablet of Yan Qinli"
  • Running hand script is shown on tablets such as "stone tablet of Master Monk Hui Jian"
  • Cursive script on "Huai Su's 1,000 Chinese character stone tablet"

Stone Tablets
Large stone tablets on display in the third room.

More to come about the remaining rooms in the next part.

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