The Forest Of Stelae Museum Xian
The Forest of Stelae Museum is located at the foot of the city
wall against the Kuixing, near the South Gate of Xi'an
Once the site of the Temple of Confucius during the Northern Song dynasty (960--1127), The Forest of Stelae Museum is situated on Sanxue Street, near the south gate of Xian City Wall. It was initially established in AD 1087 when some precious stone steles were moved here for safe keeping, including the "Classic on Filial Piety" written by Emperor Xuanzong in AD 745 and "the Kaicheng Stone Steles" arved in AD 837. With an area of 31,000 square meters, the Forest of Stone Steles used to be the principal museum for Shaanxi Province since 1944. Then because of the large number of stone steles, it was officially named as the Forest of Stone Steles Museum in 1992.
The contents of The Forest of Stelae Museum can be divided into four groups: works of literature and philosophy, historical records, calligraphy, and pictorial stones. The Popular Stele of Daqin Nestorianism, which can be recognizable by the small cross at the tip and engraved in 781AD, marks the opening of a Nestorian church. The Monk Bu Kong Stele in Tang Dynasty is noteworthy for its Buddhist value. Collections here are also of high value for exploring Chinese calligraphy history. Here stand the many tablets engraved with works of many outstanding 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 3,000 years of creative work various forms have constituted the abundant treasure and unique traditions of Chinese calligraphy. The typical includes the Cao Quan Stele, written in Han clerical script famous for its elegant, ingenious inscription; The Tang Dynasty witnessed the prosperous period with noted distinctive styles of regular script. 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. Some steles carved the portrait of Confucius with great historical Value.
With 900 years of history, this treasure house holds a large collection of the earliest stone steles of different periods, from the Han Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty. All together, there are 3,000 steles and the museum is divided into seven exhibitions halls, which mainly display the works of calligraphy, painting and historical records. All of these record some achievements in the development of the Chinese culture and reflect the historical facts of the cultural exchanges between China and other countries.
Room One mainly displays "the Kaicheng Stone Classics",
which contains twelve lections caved on 114 steles. The lections
include "the Book of Changes", " the Book of History"
, "the Book of Songs", "the Analects of Confucius"
and some others of this kind. These are the must-read books for
Admission Fee: RMB 30
Opening Hours: 08:00 to 18:00
Recommended Time for a Visit: 2 hours