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Forest of Stele Museum

Admission Fee:CNY 75 (Mar.1 to Nov.30); CNY 50 (Dec.1 to the next Feb.28/29).
Opening time:08:00 to 18:45 (Summer; tickets available before 18:00);
08:00 to 18:00 (Winter; tickets available before 17:15)
Tour Guide Service:English tour guide service is provided by the staff in the museum, the charge is CNY 200 for a group.
Recommended time for a visit:3 hours

How to Get There

1)Take tourism bus no.6 and get off at Wen Chang Men (Wen Chang Gate) Station.
2)Take bus no.14, 23, 40, 118, 208, 213, 214, 221, 222, 232, 302, 309, 402, 512, 704, 710 or 800 and get off at Wen Chang Men (Wen Chang Gate) Station. Walk east along Shuyuanmen Street and you will find it.


If you are having a Xian package tour,our Xian travel guide will introduce you to see the Forest of Stele Museum,which is one of the Xian tourist attractions,thus giving you a complete sightseeing in Xian.
Xian Stele Forest (Bei Lin) Museum is located near the south gate of the Xian City Wall. Once the site of the Temple of Confucius during the Northern Song Dynasty it was officially re-named as the Forest of Stone Steles in 1992.

It was first constructed in 1087 (the second year of the Yuanyou reign period of Emperor Zhezong of the Song Dynasty) to preserve Kaiyuan Stone Scriptures of the Tang Dynasty. And in order to preserve these works well and pass them down to later generations, the rulers ordered them to be carved on these stones. The Forest of Steles is a treasure house of the Chinese calligraphic art.

The history exhibition halls introduce the politics, economy, culture and society of the Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, Tang and other dynasties through cultural relics, pictures, drawings and models. In this museum, we can study the China ancient stone-carving art as well as social systems.

Seven Exhibition Rooms for Steles

The first room is just behind the Stone Tablet of Classic of Filial Piety. The major exhibits in this room are the Kaicheng Classics, carved in 837 AD during the Tang Dynasty. This is a group of stone tablets with 12 reading books for intellectuals inscribed on them. Ancient Chinese people carved such books in stone to prevent copying errors and thereby provided models by which students could check the accuracy of reproduced texts. The Kaicheng Classics are the best preserved set of classics on stones in China.

The second room collects stone tablets focusing on Chinese calligraphy of the Tang Dynasty. Most of these are examples used by those learning calligraphy today. The Nestorian Stele and the Bukong Monk Stele in this room are valuable sources for the study of intercultural communications between China and foreign countries during the Tang Dynasty.

In the third room, stone tablets of calligraphy in other dynasties from the Han Dynasty to the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279) are on display. These focus mainly on various styles of Chinese calligraphy such as seal characters and regular script. For instance, the Stone Tablet of Cao Quan focuses on the clerical script and the Duobao Pagoda Stele and Xuanmi Pagoda Stele are the representatives of the regular script.

The fourth room houses stone tablets inscribed with poems and the likenesses of many of the calligraphers from the period as well as historical information. Most of these were carved during the reigns of the Song Dynasty to Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). In addition, many pictures of ancient palaces and natural landscapes are sculpted on the tablets. The stone picture of Xingqing Palace inscribed in Song Dynasty and the picture of Eight Views of Guanzhong Plain ( in central Shaanxi) carved in Qing Dynasty can be found in this room.

In the fifth room, most of the stone steles carved in Qing Dynasty, have local historical information from different places engraved on them. This is valuable not only for calligraphers but also historians. The historical information includes such topics as local history, society and records detailing the construction of temples, cities and so on.

In the sixth room, most of the stone steles have poems, written in Qing Dynasty, carved on them, which are very hard to obtain. You can even see stone steles written by Emperor Kangxi, the fourth Qing Dynasty emperor, and Lin Zexu, a national hero of the Qing Dynasty.

In the last room, the seventh is where a replica of The Secret Copybooks of Chunhua is kept. The original Secret Copybooks of Chunhua, engraved in the year of Chunhua (992 AD) during the Song Dynasty, was a group of date-wood boards bearing calligraphy written by emperors, famous ministers and other skilled calligraphers. These copybooks were destroyed in a fire. Later during 1615 AD in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), new carvings based on the rubbings of the originals were made and these now shown in this room.

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