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Memorial Stele of Wang Zhen

Artist/maker unknown, Chinese

Wang Zhen (died 1449) is the founder of the Zhihua temple. A powerful eunuch of the Ming dynasty court and close advisor to the emperor, he built the temple as his own private residence and later, around 1444, converted it into a Buddhist temple.

This ink rubbing reproduces the carving on a stone tablet that once stood at the main entrance of the Zhihua temple. The white areas in the top left section are where court officials erased Wang Zhen’s name in the mid-1700s due to his indiscretions—he was held responsible for the defeat of the Ming army at a notable battle that led to the emperor’s capture by the Mongols. This incident ultimately led to Wang Zhen’s death.

Object Details

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