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Sights & attractions
Museum of Forest Stone
The Fourth & Fifth Display Room

In Room IV are works of poetry in the authentic hand-writing of the well-known calligraphers from the Song through the Qing dynasties, tablets of historical significance in periods of the Ming and Qing dynasties, and some liner engravingsfrom the Song through the Qing dynasties. We would like to show you several of these drawings in particular.

Here are two of them: "Bodhidharma's Eastward Journey"; and "Bodhidharma in Meditation". Bodhidharma was a prince of Southern Tianzhu (India). He arrived in China in 520 A. D.. Be- cause he had different views on Buddhism from Emperor Wu Di of the Southern Dynasty, he left for another state in the east named Wei and settled down in Shaolin Temple where he practiced Bud- dhism for nine years, facing the wall day in and day out. This tablet describes a legend of Bodhidharma crossing the river to the east, standing on a piece of reed, with shoes hanging from his neck. The other describes Bodhidharma sitting on a rock cushion in meditation. These are two carved sketches of life-like figures. Their rough sketch reveals a vivid touch.

This drawing is composed of characters ingeniously pieced to- gether and is called "Jizi Kuixing Diandou" (portrait of Kuixing composed of characters). In the feudal society, the imperial exami- nation system selected officials by testing their knowledge about the Five Confucian Classics. Those who won the first place in an exami- nation would be honoured as "Kuixing" (the star at the top ofthe Big Dipper). It is not a surprise, therefore, that pavilions called "Kuixinglou" or "Kuixingge" could be found is the most colleges, where a portrait of Kuixing would be enshrined. In the drawing, the figure of "Kuixing" is composed of eight characters, meaning "restraining oneself and returning to the rites", which was upheld as the norm of cultivation for Confucianists. "Kuixing" himself stands on one foot over a character meaning "turtle", with the oth- er raising up and supporting a character meaning "the Big Dipper". All of his manner implies that he heads the list of the successful can- didates. This is a vivid picture and ingeniously constructed.

In the Fifth Display Room are tablets which record the history of temple repair, good deeds of man, canal digging and wall mend- ing during the dynasties of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing. They are good reference data for the study of the then society and local histo- ry.

There are also some tablets on which are inscribed the giant characters : "Tiger", "Longevity" and "Fortune" etc, written by Ma Dezhao in the Qing Dynasty at one go. The characters are vig- orous in writing with a tremendous momentum and offer the visitors a taste of enjoyment.

Forest of Stone Tablets in Xi'an

The First Display Room

The Second Display Room

The Third Display Room

The Sixth Display Room

Stone Sculpture

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