Chinese Historical Experts Say King Yu's Monument Found in Hunan

July 30, 2007 Updated: July 30, 2007

TAIPEI—Experts from the Hunan Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics revealed that King Yu's monument, which has been lost for over 1000 years, has been located in Hengshan Mountain, Hunan Province. This stone tablet, used to glorify Yu's great deeds in flood retreat, was called the treasured object of Nanyue Mountain. King Yu's monument, the Yellow Emperor mausoleum and the Yan Emperor mausoleum are considered the three gems of the Chinese nation.

According to Xinhua News Agency, “The Monument of King Yu” is the oldest famous engravings in China, with unique ancient seal characters written in nine rows for a total of 77 characters. An ancient and unique font, wriggling like tadpoles, these carved Chinese seal characters are difficult to decipher. Well-known expert on Chinese ancient inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells, Guo Moruo, only understood three words after studying them for three years.

The monument was initially found around the 1980s to the early 1990s by the 7th township based group, Futian Village, Hengshan County, Hunan Province, and was only suspected to be “The Monument of King Yu” at that time. However, due to a lack of corroboration, it ended up as a piece in a perimeter wall when a farmer's house was built.

The monument weights more than 10 tons, with an irregular interface between the two spherical planes and the middle piece. Ornamental grooves can be seen on its surface, with visible traces of artificial chiseling.

Since June 20 this year, Hunan Provincial Bureau of Cultural Heritage has invited several experts to conduct an archaeological analysis. After over a month of efforts, many chiseling marks of characters were discovered. Confirmed by relevant documents, the location, shape, size and surroundings of the monument are all in line with historical data—it is indeed the missing “monument of King Yu.”

The Hengshan County Museum has taken urgent measures to protect the monument site. These measures include further confirmation of the monument's identification and its original site, deciphering the text, and declaring the monument as a target of heritage conservation.