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Heavenly Characters on the Red Cliff

In the middle of Mountain Red Cliff about 7 km from Huangguoshu Waterfall, there is a huge light red cliff that is 100 meters long and over 30 meters high. The red cliff is especially dazzling among the surrounding green peaks as a ruby embedded on a green carpet. On the cliff there are 21 dark red symbols that are shaped like ancient characters. They look like seal characters or in the Lishu style, but under closer scrutiny they are neither. They are not like the engraved characters and the array is rather disheveled. The largest character is as big as a dipper, and the smallest as big as a sheng. All the characters are full of simple, classic charms. Since Emperor Jiajing's reign in the Ming Dynasty, many scholars and writers have visited this place and composed poems about it and investigated into it. Rubbings, copies, and reduced inscriptions of the characters have been issued and included in national inscription collections. As for the symbolic meaning of the characters, there have been a lot of controversies without a solution. There are 3 representative postulates about the origin of the characters. The first is that they are the relics when Zhuge Liang marched southward during the Period of the Three Kingdoms, and the inscription was given the name “Zhuge Inscription”; the second is that they are the monument commemorating the military success of Emperor Gaozong of Yin over Guifang; the last is that they are the monument commemorating Jihuo's contributions in the ancient Cuan characters, as the leader of the Cuan tribe Jihuo helped Zhuge Liang in the southward march in the Chu Kingdom.

The inscription on the red cliff is magnificent and puzzling. It poses a riddle still awaiting the posterity to solve.

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Publishes at : 07-11-18 22:01

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