Brief information on Xian Stele Forest Museum (Beilin Bowuguan)  

Stele Forest Museum was built in 1950 and covers an area of 30,000 square meters. The stele forest was originally set up in 1087 to store the stonework classics of the Tang Dynasty. The exhibitions can be divided into stone tablet and stone sculptures. There are 3,000 stone tablets from the Tang Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty on display in seven rooms, six epitaph corridors and one tablet pavilion. Stele Forest Museum is an art treasure-trove with and houses the richest collection of stone tablets from ancient China. The dense crowd of tablets in the museum resembles a thick forest, hence the name.

In front of the first room, there is a Tablet Pavilion. Displayed in the centre of the pavilion is "the Stone-based Classic on Filial Piety", the largest tablet in the forest. The Classic on Filial Piety is a Confucian classic and was engraved in stone directly from the handwritten copy of Emperor Xuanzong in 745 AD.

The first exhibition room displays 12 Chinese classics known as "Kaicheng Stone Classics". The room also houses another classic entitled “Mencius”, engraved in Qing Dynasty. There are 131 stone tablets, with a total of 680,252 characters. The works are collectively named “The Thirteen Classics".

The second exhibition room houses tablets inscribed with the calligraphy of the many famous masters of the Tang Dynasty (618 ~ 907A.D.), including Ou Yangxun, Chu Suiliang, Liu Gongquan and so on. Nowadays, these tablets are regarded as masterpieces for students of calligraphy to study.

The third exhibition room houses stone tablets which date from the Han to Song Dynasties (206BC~1279AD). They are inscribed with a rich variety of calligraphic styles, including seal characters, official script, regular script, running hand and cursive hand. These tablets track the evolution of the Chinese writing system.

The other exhibition rooms contain stone tablets in authentic handwriting of the well-known calligraphers from Song through Qing Dynasties. These stone tablets record such historical facts as temple repair, merit registration and canal digging of the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. They also display poetry and verses that date back to the dynasties of Yuan ,Ming, Qing etc.

The gallery of Stone Sculptures houses more than 70 stone sculptures of the mausoleum and religious styles. The majority were collected from various parts of Shaanxi Province. Stone sculpture can offer an insight into Chinas cultural heritage, and Shaanxi is where many of the nation’s early stone sculptures have been unearthed. These stone sculpture originated from Western Han Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, periods that witnessed a high level of development in Chinese art.   

*You can download the bilingual note to show it to a taxi driver or someone else to find your way to Xian Stele Forest Museum (Beilin Bowuguan) if you plan to visit Xian Stele Forest Museum (Beilin Bowuguan) and have language problems.



Chinese Pinyin: Bei Lin Bo Wu Guan
Opening Times: 08:00-18:00
Ticket Price: CNY 45
Address: No. 15, Sanxue St.
How to Get to: take bus No. 14, 402, 512, 223 or 208


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