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Collecting Classical Chinese Calligraphy

In Beijing’s Beihai Park which is an optional attraction for your AFFORDABLE China travel packages, at the western foot of Qionghua Isle, stands a tower known as Yuegu, which means “study of ancient Chinese culture.” Erected in 1753 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the two-story semicircular building houses 25 rooms. Stored there are stone rubbing masterpieces by some of the most distinguished calligraphers of ancient China, including Wang Xizhi, Wang Xianzhi, and Wang Xun.


The collection features rubbings on 495 stones, each measuring 95 centimeters long, 30 centimeters wide, and 10 centimeters thick. Deeply impressed by the work of master calligraphers, Emperor Qianlong wrote dozens of poems to express his admiration.

In 1839, during the reign of Emperor Daoguang, the Qing government launched a project to re-carve the masterpieces and decorate the rims of the carvings.

In 1964, Beihai Park’s administration moved all of the carvings to the second floor to better protect and showcase the stones, which were separated by 14 walls each filled with carvings, totaling 275 pieces which attract so many tourists for their popular China travel package.


In 1966, during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), employees of the park closed the exhibition and detached the horizontal board over the tower gate to deter destruction of the relics.

In 1975, then Premier Zhou Enlai visited Beihai Park and borrowed five volumes of books documenting the rubbings. He strongly suggested taking measures to better preserve the books and asked that the horizontal board be replaced. Though seriously ill, Premier Zhou asked his wife to inform Wang Yequi, then director of the State Cultural Relics Bureau, to assess the situation to ensure protection of relics stored in the tower. Soon afterwards, the Bureau dispatched a group of specialists to inspect the building and carvings. From that point, extensive protective measures have been enacted to ensure preservation.

In 1988, park administration installed glass casings over all of the stone carvings.

Priceless Deposits

The majority of the carvings were sketched and carved meticulously from even more ancient original work once in the collection. Grand in scale and abundant in content, their value to the study of ancient Chinese calligraphy is understandably priceless and worhtwhile to watch for your top 10 China tour packages

The well-preserved carvings in Yuegu Tower include items that can be traced back as far as the Wei Dynasty (220-265). Arranged in chronological order, these works showcase the development of ancient Chinese calligraphy in terms of both writing style and literary evolution.

Along its value for the understanding of ancient Chinese calligraphy, Yuegu Tower’s collection also serves as an irreplaceable cultural treasure of the royal garden of Beihai Park.

If you want to know more about it, you can contact with China tour agents.

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