Art/ Collection/ Art Object

清拓 《史晨碑》 冊 十九世紀拓本
Stele for Shi Chen

Unidentified Artist Chinese
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
19th century rubbing; stele dated A.D. 169
Rubbing mounted in an album of thirty-two leaves; ink on paper
Image: 10 7/8 x 5 5/8 in. (27.6 x 14.3 cm) Overall with mounting: 13 7/8 x 7 7/16 in. (35.2 x 18.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Wan-go H. C. Weng, 1992
Accession Number:
Not on view
For nearly eighteen hundred years, the stone stele from which this rubbing was taken has stood in the Temple of Confucius, adjacent to the sage's birthplace in Qufu, Shandong Province. The stele bears engraved texts concerning rituals conducted at the temple in Confucius's memory. When the official Shi Chen arrived in Qufu in A.D. 168, he personally financed an elaborate ritual that included sacrificial offerings. He then submitted a memorial to Emperor Ling (r. 168–69) requesting funds to pay for the rituals each year in the spring and autumn.

The calligraphy on the stele is an example of Han-dynasty clerical script. Originally developed by scribes and bureaucrats for everyday writing, this script type came to be widely used for stone inscriptions requiring strict, orderly forms of writing. In clerical script, blocky characters fit into an imaginary grid, and strokes tend to be of even thickness. Some horizontal strokes end in sharply defined, angular tips, while curved and downward-flaring strokes display complex shapes. The spacious layout of the text and even spacing of the strokes create a sense of dignity appropriate to the stele's placement within the temple precinct.
Inscription: Artists’ Inscription

Unidentified, 91 columns in clerical script

Label Strip

Weng Tonghe 翁同龢 (1830–1904), 2 columns in standard script, undated:



1. Xu Tinggao 許廷誥 (1765–ca. 1814), 2 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1838; 3 seals:

道光十八年戊戌閏月二十五日伯緘手黏於翦雨樓,峕年七十四。 [印]: 翦雨樓、緘翁、廷誥

2. Weng Tonghe 翁同龢 (1830–1904), 3 columns in standard script, dated 1878:


3. Xu Tinggao 許廷誥 (1765–ca. 1814), 3 columns in standard script, undated; 2 seals:

魯相史晨祀孔子奏銘 [印]: 翦雨樓、碩寬堂

4. Weng Tonghe 翁同龢 (1830–1904), 1 column in standard script, undated; 1 seal:

此題懺乃許伯緘丈手筆,得者善護之。同龢記。 [印]: 叔平

Collectors' seals

Weng Tonghe 翁同龢 (1830–1904)

Weng Zhilian 翁之廉 (1882–1919)

Weng Wan’ge 翁萬戈 (Wan-go H.C. Weng, born 1918)
Mr. and Mrs. Wan-go H. C. Weng , New York (until 1992; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Traditional Scholarly Values at the End of the Qing Dynasty: The Collection of Weng Tonghe (1830–1904)," June 30, 1998–January 3, 1999.

Princeton University Art Museum. "The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection," March 25, 1999–July 3, 1999.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Brush and Ink: The Chinese Art of Writing," September 2, 2006–January 21, 2007.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Out of Character: Decoding Chinese Calligraphy—Selections from the Collection of Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang," April 29, 2014–August 17, 2014.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of the Chinese Album," September 6, 2014–March 29, 2015.

Related Objects

Hinagata chō (Model Book)

Date: 19th century Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper Accession: JIB138 On view in:Not on view

Album of Sketches for Lacquer Decoration

Date: ca. 1850 Medium: Ink and color on paper Accession: 23.88.1 On view in:Not on view

Album of Sketches for Lacquer Decoration

Date: 1840 Medium: Ink and color on paper Accession: 23.88.3 On view in:Not on view

The Style of Woman's Fashion

Medium: Black and white illustrations with captions; ink on paper Accession: JIB154 On view in:Not on view

Illustrated book

Medium: Ink drawings Accession: JIB156 On view in:Not on view