The sculpture carvings left and preserved in Xi'an are mainly the stone carvings, stone tablets, records of mausoleum, statues, scripture buildings, tower inscription, etc. Xi'an has a rich collection of stone tablets Which is world-famous, especially the famous stone steles since Song Dynasty. Next comes the records of mausoleum. There are tens of thousands of records of mausoleum having been discovered since the foundation of PRC, among which records of Tang Dynasty account most. Among those stone statues, the most noticeable ones are the carvings of cowboy and knitting woman beside the Kunming Lake and statues besides sacread passage( the Saint Road for the God to pass )in front of the tomb. Apart from that, the stone coffins, the carvings on the tomb gate and engravings, though commonly appeared in the tombs, still reflect the high-level skills of that period. These stone statues, scripture buildings and tower inscriptions were all religion-oriented. The most remarkable ones were excavation of the stone carvings during the Later Wei Dynasty, which attracted lots of attention in the stone carving field.
西安碑林 Xi'an Forest of Stone Steles
Being situated at Sanxue Street, Xi'an, the Forest of Stone Steles Museum was originally built in the 1st year of emperior Zhao Xu in Song Dynasty(1086AD～1093AD).This treasure house boasts to hold the richest collection of the earliest stone steles of different periods in Chinese history, and thus comes the name ‘forest’. The Museum has displayed more than 1,000 records of stone steles among the collection of over 2,300 pieces from early Han and Wei Dynasty till Qing Dynasty. It shows different styles of calligraphies of famous calligraphers, from seal script, official script, regular script to running-hand and cursive-hand. Among them the masterpieces from Tang Dynasty like Ou Yangxun, Yu Shinan, Huai Su, Zhi Yong, Li Yangbing, Li Longji, Liu Gongquan and Yan Zhenqing are most precious ones. Another point worth mentioning is the Preface for the Three Zang Bibles of Tang Dynasty, it was engraved by Monk Huai Ren, who collected and engraved the scripts of Wang Xizhi, an authority of calligraphy. The stone tablets on how the Jin Religion being popular in China jots down how the Nostos branch of Christian were spread to Chang'an from Central Asia in both Chinese and Syria languages. This provides very rare research material for the study of cultural exchanges and communications between China and the west. The Kai Cheng Stone Scripture adds up to 655,025 words. It is the only complete and intact stone scripture in China. The Forest of Stone Steles Museum in Xi'an is an institution of cultural relics under state protection in China.
祖庵碑林 Zu'an Forest of Stone Steles
The Forest of Stone Tablets of Zu'an in The Chong Yang Temple ( also called Zu An Stone Sculpture ) lies in the Zu'an Suburb of Hu Xian County of Xi'an. More than 80 stone carvings about Quan Zhen branch of Taoism during the Jin and Yuan Dynasty are preserved here. Stone steles account most among them, especially the huge Yuan Stele, which is very famous. These stone tablets jots down the history and the doctrines of the religion of Taoism. This can be divided into four categories in terms of its content: the history of its religion, the steles of calligraphy, the Ba siba Language and the pills and methods of obtaining Kong fu. The Stele of ten directions for Chong yang and Wan shou Temple, The Stele of ancestors of Quan zhen Branch, The Record Stele of Morality of Saint Sun and The Book stone tablet of royal seals of emperors are the most typical of these. Since the amount of stone cultural relics of the Quan zhen Branch of Taoism during the Yuan Dynasty is rare anywhere else in China, it also belongs to one of the famous forests of stone steles in Shaanxi province. It is also the institution of cultural relics under state preservation in China.
楼观碑石 Stone Tablet of Lou Guan Temple
Lou Guan Temple is located in the north of Qin Ling Mountain, which is 3 kilometers from the southeast of Zhouzhi county in Xi'an City. It is the place where Lao Tze gave his lectures. And now it is respected as the origin place of the religion of Taoism. 84 stone tablets on Taoism from Wu De the 9th year of Tang Dynasty (626 AD ) to the 30th of the Republic of China ( 1941 ) have been collected here, and they can be divided into 8 categories: the record tablets, the tablets of sutras, the tablets of former ancestors virtues, the tablets of archives, the gravestone tablets, the tablets of comments for the passed, the tablets of tower inscription and the tablets of poems and messages, etc. These treasured tablets record and reflect the great religious events held in Lou Guan Temple of different periods. Lots of handwritings of great calligraphers in Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties have been preserved and serve as precious research materials for the study of Taoism. Of all these tablets, the records of Ou Yang xun The view of a Saint records the stone tablet, the running script of Su Lingshi's semi-script Tablet of spiritual appearance of Lao Tze and The first Mountain semi-script by Mi Fu are the most famous one.
石造像 Stone Image Statue
Since ancient Xi'an and its surrounding areas have always been the center of Buddhism, so a large amount of stone statues of Buddha of different types have been preserved, it certainly can be Considered the Portait of the ancient Buddha. The followings is a part of these stone statues collected by Xi'an Cultural Relics' Preservation Institution.
华夏文明故都 丝绸之路起点/西安市文物局编著.-西安: 世界图书出版西安公司, 2005;陕西