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Forest of Stone Steles Museum


Forest of Stone Steles Museum

Forest of Stone Steles MuseumXi'an Forest of Stone Tablets was originally built in 1087. The Forest of Stone Steles in Xi'an holds a big
collection of steles in China. It is a classical courtyard styled structure at the site of former Confucian
Temple in Sanxue Street, Xian, close to the south gate of Xi'an City Wall.

The museum has an area of over 30,000 square meters. It is one of the centers of ancient Chinese stone-
engraving classic. It is also the center of the works of art of noted calligraphers of past dynasties. The
numerous standing steles likens a forest, hence the name " Forest of Steles"'. With a history of over 900
years, it is an art treasure well known at home and abroad.

Many steles are very important to historical research. One of the steles, which was carved during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), describes the
spread of a branch of Christianity in Chinese and Syriac. Other steles describe the intercourse between Chinese and Nepal, Japan, India and so
on. Some steles also record important historic events such as peasants' insurgences and the aggressions of western countries. What's more, many steles in the museum are important records of ancient literatures. The 'Kaicheng Stone Classics', which took seven years to carve, consist of 114 steles with twelve kinds of classics. Roughly 650,252 characters on the steles are considered to be the best preserved of their kind in China.

Collections here are also of high value for exploring Chinese calligraphy history. Here stand the many tablets engraved with works of many Forest of Stone Steles Museumoutstanding calligraphers through ages. Chinese calligraphy boasts a long history in five basic script forms, namely: seal script, clerical script, regular script, running script and cursive script. Through more than 5,000 years of creative work various forms have constituted the abundant treasure and unique traditions of Chinese calligraphy. The most distinguished Tang stele is "the Preface to the Holy Buddhist Scriptures" in the handwriting of Wang Xizhi, a famous Jin calligrapher. Some poems of calligraphy are also collected here.

In addition, a large amount of art treasures, such as the famous Six Legendary Horses as well as other stone carvings and inscriptions for religious use and for tombs of the Han and the Tang dynasties are also well preserved.



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