X-post from Tim 't Hart's EastAsianArch list.
With kind permission.
June 01, 2006
1,300-year-old stele eyed by Chinese, Japanese archaeologists
An important and ancient stele, inscribed with just 29 Chinese
characters and looted by Japanese soldiers early last century, could
provide experts with some important clues to understanding the
mysterious 1,300-year-old Bohai Kingdom.
The Honglujing Stele, which is about 3 meters wide, 1.8 meters tall and
2 meters thick, sits in virtual seclusion in the Japanese imperial
palace as a "trophy" of the Japanese army who took it from Lushun in
northeastern China's Liaoning Province after the 1904 war between Japan
The stele is the only one known to belong to the Tang Dynasty (618-907)
in northeastern China. It indicates that the first king of the Bohai
Kingdom (698-926), a mysterious state during the Tang Dynasty, was
conferred with the title by the Tang emperor.
Few people, including Japanese researchers, have been allowed into the
imperial palace to study the stele. Zhang Yongnian and Wang Weiming,
deputy directors of the Tang Honglujing Stele Research Association
obtained some pictures of the stele from the Japanese imperial palace in
Set up in 2004, the association is the most authoritative
non-governmental organization on Honglujing stele study. Luo Zhewen, a
famed ancient architecture expert, serves as head of the association.
Over the past two years the non-government association has been
promoting study exchanges on the stele between Chinese and Japanese
scholars and celebrities, such as Ikuo Hirayama, president of
Japan-China Friendship Association.
Unlike what some media report said, the imperial palace of Japan has
never refused further contact with Chinese researchers, and it is
hopeful that the 'historical problems' surrounding the Honglujing Stele
will be settled in "a cooperative and friendly way", according to the
Some historical records said Bohai Kingdom was a regime founded mainly
by the Mohes, a minority nationality in northeast China and forefathers
to the Manchus.
With limited historical records, Japanese and Chinese archaeologists
have not been able to figure out the exact date when the stele was taken
to Japan, but it was widely believed to be sometime between October 1906
and April 1908.
with kind regards,
Matthias Arnold (Art-Eastasia list)
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