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Xi'an Forest of Steles

forest-of-steles01Situated at the bottom of the City wall, the Forest of Steles is the heaviest collection of books in the world. The earliest texts date back to the Han dynasty. It is a treasure house of Chinese calligraphic art.

forest-of-stelesThe Forest of Steles in Xi'an was first built in the second year of Yuanyou in the Northern Song Dynasty (1087 AD.). It has 8 exhibition rooms, 8 corridors, 8 pavilions, with a floor space of 3,000 square meters. Altogether, 2,420 blocks of famous stone tablets of the Han Dynasty, the Tang Dynasty and the successive dynasties were collected in the forest. In the Museum of the Forest of Steles, there are 1089 stone tablets on display. Among the best-known stone tablets of calligraphy are the Tablet to Cao Quan from the Han Dynasty, the Tablet to General Guangwu in the Former Qin, and the most outstanding works of the leading calligraphers such as Li Si of the Qin Dynasty, Cai Yong of the Han Dynasty, Wang Xizhi of the Jin Dynasty, Zhi Yong of the Sui Dynasty and Ouyang Xun, Yu Shinan, Zhu Suiliang, Yan Zhenqing, Liu Gongquan, Zhang Xu and Huai Su of the Tang Dynasty. The works of Yan Zhenqing alone occupies 7 blocks of stone tablets. In the collection of the Forest of Steles there is a huge amount of ancient literary works and documentation, among which the Kaicheng Inscriptions of Classics on Stone alone covers 114 tablets with 0.65 million Chinese characters.

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