The Stone Gate at Baoxie Road is located in the Baohe River Reservoir, 17 km north of Hanzhong City, Shaanxi Province. The Baoxie Road was a famous passage through Qinling Mountains, with a total length of 250 km. It runs through Qinling Mountains, with the south entrance, Bao Valley, located in Hanzhong City and the north entrance, Xie Valley, in Mei County in Shaanxi Province. Therefore, it got the name Baoxie Road. Its construction started from the Warring States Period (475-221BC). Tunnels run through the mountains, and plank roads are built along the face of a cliff one after another. After renovations and expansions through the dynasties, the road finally got through. There are two stone gates at the two ends of the road, respectively Big Stone Gate for the north one, and Small Stone Gate for the south. The present Stone Gate at Baoxie Road refers to the Small Stone Gate.
About The Stone Gate at the Baoxie Road
The Stone Gate at the Baoxie Road lies in the tunnel south of the valley plank road. It was constructed in the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD), and rebuilt in the second year (509) during the Yongping reign of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). The gate tunnel is 16.3 meters long and 4.2 meters wide, and is 3.48 meters high for the south opening, and 3.75 meters for the north. Inscriptions left by celebrities in ancient China after the Han and Wei dynasties are well preserved on the Stone Gate, regarded as the Inscriptions on the Stone Gate. In 1970, due to the construction of the Baohe River Reservoir, all the stone inscriptions were moved to the Hanzhong Municipal Museum, and were restored and displayed there.
The Cliffside Stone Inscriptions
The Cliffside Stone Inscriptions on the Stone Gate is rich in commemorative inscriptions and psalm. The 13 articles during the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) and the Wei Dynasty (386-534) are world famous. Among them, the most precious is the inscription of Shimen Song (an ode inscribed on the Stone Gate), praising the construction of the road. The text is written in official script, assuming an unexpected natural beauty and representing a masterpiece of the Han Dynasty. The Shimen Ming (ode on the Stone Gate), engraved in the east wall of the Stone Gate in the second year (509) during the Yongping reign of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534), recorded and praised the governors in Liang and Qin prefectures for the rebuilding of the mountainous road. It was inscribed by Wang Yuan in regular script, possessing natural grace.
The earliest stone inscription is the Tablet in Memory of Chujun's Construction of the Baoxie Road, which records the history that the governor of Hanzhong and his subordinates constructed the Baoxie Road. The characters are in a style between the seal character and the official script with vigorous strokes. These works are not only precious documents for the research into ancient tunnels and roads, but also tangible materials for the research into the history of Chinese characters.