Fragments of Eastern Han Dynasty stele carved with Confucian classics

Updated: Dec 5, 2022 Print
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Rubbing of the stone fragment of the Eastern Han Dynasty Xiping Stone Classics carved with I Ching ( Classic of Changes) collected by the Xi’an Beilin Museum. [Photo/Official Website of the Xi’an Beilin Museum]

During the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), Confucianism was endorsed by the emperor as an orthodox way of learning and Confucian books were regarded as classics. In the fourth year of the Xiping reign (175) of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), the emperor took famous scholar Cai Yong’s advice and ordered Confucian teachings to be carved on stones in clerical script and displayed at the Imperial Academy in Luoyang.

In 190, the Xiping Stone Classics were severely damaged. Stone fragments have been discovered since the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).

The Xi’an Beilin Museum is home to stone fragment which is carved with the 494-character I Ching (Classic of Changes) on both sides.

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