Xi’an’s Stele Forest (Bei Lin) Museum is located at 15 Sanxue (Three School) Street, near the City Wall’s south gate. Established in 1090 during the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1279), the Stele Forest Museum in Xi’an is well-known nationally for a refined and extensive collection of more than 1 000 inscribed stones engraved during 2,000 years from the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) to the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911). It is an excellent place to get close to Chinese history and culture.
The museum, covering an area of 31,000 square meters, is divided into seven major exhibition halls. Which mainly displays ancient works of calligraphy, historical records, and stone carvings.
Exhibition Hall One
mainly displays the text of twelve Confucian classics carved on 14 steles. The twelve works include the Analects of Confucius, the Books of Changes, the Books of Songs, and some others. These twelve classics are must-do readings for intellectuals of China’s feudal society. The stones were carved over 2,000 years ago before printing was developed. The kings had them engraved on these stones. To preserve these works well and pass them down to later generations.
Exhibition Hall Two
exhibits calligraphy steles written by the prominent calligraphers of China’s ancient Tang Dynasty (618 – 907). Chinese classic calligraphy reached its golden age during this time. The Tang Dynasty witnessed a flowering of creativity in many fields. Visitors will find works of Ouyang Xun, Yan Zhenqing, Zhang Xu, and many other noted ancient calligraphers in this hall.
Exhibition Hall Three
also exhibits works of calligraphy. Seal characters, official script, normal script, running hand, and cursive writing was used to inscribe these steles.
From these steles, visitors can have a clear idea of the development of Chinese writing. Chinese calligraphy forms an essential part of China’s magnificent culture. So these stone tablets are essential in exploring China’s long and magical ancient culture.
Exhibition Hall Four
contains various stone sculptures. Two hundred pieces from the Han through the Tang dynasties are on display. Including portraits of Confucius, Buddhist scriptures from the Tang Dynasty, etc.
Hall Five, Hall Six and Hall Seven are also well worth a visit. Hall Five displays steles engraved with historical records. From the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) to the Qing Dynasty, China’s last imperial age. Many renowned and notable pieces of poetry are on display in Halls Six and Seven.
Transport: bus 23 40 221 222 302 309 402
Open time: Daily 9:00am to 5:30pm;
Admission RMB: 30 per person