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Mausoleum Stone Carvings of Southern Dynasties in Nanjing

 

Mausoleum Stone Carvings of the Southern Dynasties cover four areas: Nanjing, Jiangning, Danyang and Jurong. The vivid and elegant stone carvings are mostly of unicorns, a Tianlu (a Chinese legendary animal), pillars, steles and winged animals. They are the treasures of ancient stone art that reflect the cultural exchanges between China, Greece and Persia. The 17 spots of the Nanjing mausoleums of the six dynasties include the Chuning Mausoleum of Liu Yu, Emperor Wudi of the Song Kingdom (960-1279); the Wan'an Mausoleum of Chen Baxian, Emperor Wudi of the Chen Kingdom (557-589); the Yongning Mausoleum of Chen Qianyong, Emperor Wendi of the Chen Kingdom; and mausoleums of Xiao Hong, Xiao Xiu, Xiao Guan, Xiao Jing of the Liang Kingdom (502-557).

Liu Yu (363-422) was promoted to general for his warring record, seized the throne of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (265-420) in 420 and died three years later. Two stone animals are positioned in front of his mausoleum, a Tianlu to the east and a unicorn to the west, both of which are three meters tall. The elegant stone designs imitate the style of the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD).

The Wan'an Mausoleum of Chen Baxian, Emperor Wudi of the Chen Kingdom, with only one stone Tianlu and one unicorn remaining, is located in Shima Village, Shangfang Town, southeast of Jiangning County.

The Yongling Mausoleum of Chen Qian sits in the southeast of Ganjia Street, Xixia District, Nanjing. Facing south, the mausoleum has one Tianlu and one unicorn in the east and west separated by 200 meters. The unicorn, unlike the two-horned Tianlu, is intact, with one horn and two wings, 3.10 meters long, 1.45 meters wide and 2.85 meters tall. The stone carvings are among the best of their kind in Nanjing.

The mausoleum of Xiao Hong, Jinghuiwang of the Liang Kingdom is located in the northeast suburb of Nanjing. Facing north, the mausoleum has two stones in front intended for exorcising evil spirits, two tortoise-shaped bases and two symmetrical pillars in the east and west. The two stones are considered to be at a high level among the existing mausoleum stone carvings of the Southern Dynasties Period (420-589) in Nanjing. From the two steles, the east one has been destroyed, leaving only the west stele standing on the tortoise-shaped base. The stele, which imitates the style of the Han Dynasty, has a couple of dragons on top and eight relief sculptures of ghosts, human beings with feathers, red linnets and green dragons.

The mausoleum of Xiao Xiu is located on the campus of Ganjiaxiang Primary School, northeast of Nanjing, which has the most abundant and complete mausoleum stone carvings. The existing relics include two stones for exorcising evil spirit, one stone pillar, one stone base, three steles and two stele bases. The stele, which was inscribed by Bei Yiyuan, the famous calligraphist of the Southern Dynasties, is very valuable to the study of the history of calligraphy.

The mausoleum stone carvings of Xiao Zhan sit in the west of Ganjia Street, a northeastern suburb of Nanjing. In front of the mausoleum stand two stones for exorcising evil spirits, one tortoise-shaped base and a stele. The over 2,000 words in regular script were inscribed by the famous calligraphist Bei Yiyuan. It is the best-reserved stele of the Southern Dynasties and an excellent work of the calligraphic arts.

 
 
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