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Stone Steles Museum

  • The Stone Steles Museum also called the Beilin Museum or Steles Forest, is a themed museum concentrating on exhibits of stone sculptures, epigraphs and stone steles, from earlier dynasties. It is situated inside the Xian City Wall on Sanxue Street. Its construction is based on Xian Confucius Temple. The museum was constructed to safeguard the Filial Piety Classics and the Kaicheng Classics. The collection has increased to 11,000 relics, including 3,000 epigraphs or stone steles which are kept in 7 separate display rooms. Among these several valuable relics, 19 groups are considered to be national treasures which the visitors must see.

National Treasures in Forest of Stone Steles Museum

  • As compared to other museums, the exceptional feature of the Forest of Stone Steles Museum is its decorated tablets. Tablet decorations inform us about the historical facts, life styles and religions of ancient times. Tourists can have knowledge of the interaction of China with other nations and the general summary of Chinese history. These writings are of huge interest for the followers of Chinese calligraphy, because they are excellent illustrations of the varied styles of Chinese characters.
  • The Halberd Gate divides the museum into two parts, the exhibition rooms at the rear and the old constructions in front. On arrival, you can see the Lingxing Gates, memorial archway and the site of the Confucius Temple. Two separate pavilions are arranged through the Halberd Gate, a bell on the south side and a stone horse on the north side. Since the stone horse is rare it is a national treasure.
  • As you move ahead you see many temporary display rooms and six pavilions arranged along a constricted path. Presently, these pavilions are not open for the public. There is a pavilion at the end of this path. This was engraved during the period of Tang Dynasty and has writing of dialogues which were between Confucius and his students.

Seven Exhibition Rooms for Steles

  • At the rear of the Stone Tablet of Classic of Filial Piety there is the first room. The Kaicheng Classics, engraved in 837 AD are the main exhibits in this room. This is a collection of stone tablets having 12 reading books for scholars engraved on them. Ancient Chinese engraved these types of books in stone in order to avoid copying mistakes and in that way provided models through which students might check the correctness of duplicated texts. The best preserved set of classics on stones in China is the Kaicheng Classics
  • Stone tablets spotlight the Tang Dynasty‚Äôs calligraphy. The majority of these are illustrations used by calligraphy students these days. In this room the Bukong Monk Stele and the Nestorian Stele are important sources for the learning of intercultural communications between foreign countries and China during the Tang Dynasty.
  • On display in the third room are stone tablets of calligraphy in other dynasties. These concentrate primarily on different styles of calligraphy of China like regular script and seal characters. The Stone Tablet of Cao Quan represent the clerical script and Xuanmi Pagoda Stele, Duobao Pagoda Stele represent the regular script.
    The fourth room has stone tablets engraved with poems and the portraits of several calligraphers and historical information. Additionally, a lot of portraits of natural landscapes and old palaces are carved on the tablets.
  • The fifth room contains the majority of the stone steles engraved during Qing Dynasty. This is useful not just for historians but calligraphers too. The historical information incorporates topics like society and local history.
  • The sixth room contains the majority of the stone steles that have poems, written during Qing Dynasty. Stone steles written by a national hero of the Qing Dynasty, Lin Zexu and the fourth Qing Dynasty emperor, Emperor Kangxi can be seen here.
  • In the seventh and last room, there is a copy of The Secret Copybooks of Chunhua. The original copybooks were damaged in a fire. Later in 1615 AD, new carvings were created and these are now shown in this room.

Stone Sculpture Art Galleries

  • There are two sculpture galleries on both sides of these 7 exhibition rooms. The gallery to the east is newly constructed, and shows the growth of Buddhism in Xian. The gallery to the west shows roughly 70 exhibits dating from the Han and Tang Dynasties.