Thousand-year-old stele discovered in north China

TAIYUAN, May 13 (Xinhua) -- A stele dating back to more than 1,000 years ago has been discovered in north China's Shanxi Province, according to local authorities.

Photo: Xinhua

The stele was found in the Xingtangsi Village of Hongtong County when villagers were clearing the land north of the ruins of a temple. Cultural relics experts later found that it was erected in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) during the reign of Emperor Wenzong, witnessing the rise and fall of the adjacent Zhongzhen Temple.

The Zhongzhen Temple was built in 594, and served as a place of worship in the following centuries. Several ancient steles were left recording renovation, worship, and other activities. So far this stele is the only one confirmed to be left from the Tang Dynasty in the county.

The stele gives an account of Emperor Wenzong's order at that time to rebuild an ancestral hall inside the temple complex. The order was carved on a slab of black granite, now damaged at the top and the bottom, but with the two sides still completely intact. The remaining 175 characters inscribed on the stele are from an article about the rebuilding written in 837, which can also be found in a county record compiled in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and historical books in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Xie Tanzhi, of a local cultural relics management bureau in Hongtong County, said that the stele carried lots of historical information, including an emperor sending officials to worship at the Zhongzhen Temple.