A literal legacy set in stone

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University students from Beijing and Shanghai admire Du Fu’s poems inscribed by famous calligraphers in the Flower-bathing Brook Park in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. The 32-hectare urban forest park is the largest in the city.[Photo provided by Huang Leran/For China Daily]

Most people read poems in books or online, but people in Chengdu, Sichuan Province can read 1,455 ancient poems on stone tablets.

First-time visitors to Flower-bathing Brook Park in Chengdu will be impressed by the many tablets, each inscribed with a poem by Du Fu (712-770), one of the most famous poets of China. They are scattered throughout the 32-hectare urban forest park, the largest in Chengdu.

The characters are engraved by famous calligraphers dating from antiquity to the present day.

Along with poems inscribed on stone in the adjacent Du Fu Cottage Museum, those in the park are part of the Thousand Poem Tablet Project, through which Chengdu literally established the poet’s legacy from the Tang Dynasty (618 -907). in stone.

With an investment of 150 million yuan ($21 million), the Chengdu municipal government’s ambitious plan to erect tablets with Du’s existing 1,455 poems in the park and museum began in 2015 and has grown. completed in 2018.

The tablets bring together Du’s works at the many and varied stages of his life. Beginning in his youth, they trace his journey from the Tang capital of Chang’an (now Xi’an in Shaanxi Province), the thoughts he recorded during his heyday, and those of his short stint as as a middle-aged wanderer in Gansu Province. Also included are the poems he wrote for almost four years at his cottage in Chengdu, the two years he spent in today’s Fengjie, Chongqing, from 766 to 768, until his last years in Hunan province before his death in 770.


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