An ancient stone tablet recording the history and restoration of a government-run academy in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was found in north China's Hebei Province, local authorities said Thursday.
Dating back to about 137 years ago, the bluestone tablet was found in Dajia Village of Xinhe County during an investigation launched by the local cultural relics protection department.
It measures 2.45 meters in height, 0.9 meters in width and 0.27 meters in thickness, with a full and clear inscription of "the record of the renovation of Tangyang Academy" on the front. The inscription decorated with exquisite patterns on the two sides consists of 822 Chinese characters.
The inscription recorded the history, scale and process of the reconstruction of the Tangyang Academy in detail. It can serve as a reference for research on the education and folkways of the Qing Dynasty, said Feng Xiaona of the county's cultural relics protection department.
The Tangyang Academy mentioned in the inscription was built in the 16th year of the reign of Emperor Kangxi. However, it was repeatedly restored and abandoned during the reign of emperors Qianlong and Jiaqing. In the 8th year of Emperor Guangxu's reign, the county head Sun Xikang relocated and rebuilt the academy. Sun wrote the inscription on the tablet and set a fund to hire teachers and promote local education.
It also recorded that sponsored by officials and residents, the reconstructed Tangyang Academy was grand in scale. From then on, Xinhe County gradually became known for its emphasis on education.
Feng said Xinhe County was at one point in time named Tangyang County, according to the county annals.