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Rubbing of the Sanzang Monk Stele at the Xingshan Monastery

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Period: 781, Jianzhong reign (780–783), Tang dynasty (618–907), modern rubbing
Medium: ink, paper
Artist(s): Yan Ying (act. eighth century), Xu Hao (703–782)

Dimensions: 32.4 × 38.1 cm

This modern rubbing album preserves the inscription of the Sanzang Monk Stele (Sanzang heshang bei) at the Xingshan Monastery (Xingshan si, lit. “Prospering Benevolence Temple”). Erected in the year 781, the second year of the Jianzhong reign (780–783) of the Tang dynasty (618–907), the monument bears an inscription originally compiled by Yan Ying (act. eighth century) with calligraphy by Xu Hao (703–782). The characters of the composition show the vigor of the meticulous calligrapher, and the inscription betrays the moisture of the original written words.

In his historic work The Ou Studio Catalogue of Epigraphy Rubbings and Exemplary Calligraphy (Ouzhai cang beitie mulu), Zhu Yian (1882-1937) records basic information about the stele and notes how he purchased the rubbings in the autumn of the renxu year (1922) for thirty yuan at the Belvedere of Abundant Prosperity (Fuhua ge). He paid an additional twelve yuan for mounting the rubbings in the album and wrote a colophon that same year. He also notes its inclusion in Ji Hai’s Catalogue of Precious Engravings (Baoke leibian).

Chinese entry by Qin Ming
Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying

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