1.That the four characters Ji Ri Gui Si on the Tanshan stele was written by King Mu of the Zhou (reigned 1001-945 B.C.) is obviously incorrect. However, the high quality of the ink, paper, and rubbing technique of the present lot is one of the oldest ever seen. The rubbingn made later by Zhang Yanji and Zhang Xin is based on this piece. It also has impeccable provenance, having been collected and/or seen by Sun Chengze, Li Tong, Sun Zingyan, Weng Ganggang amongst others, and who have all written colophons.
2. The Taishan stele is believed to be engraved in the Qin, around 219 B.C. It was discovered in the Ming and this rubbing is probably made during the Jiajing era (1522-1566). It is very rare to find a rubbing with twenty-nine character, since the stone was subsequently destroyed in the fifth year of the Qianlong era (1740) and only two small pieces with a total of ten characters was found in the twentieth year of the Jiaqing era (1815). Collectors who were fortunately enough to obtain a copy of the twenty-nine character rubbing have found themselves honoured. Hence, Gao Yong called his studio Taishan canshi lou (Pavilion with the Taishan Stele); Li Wentian dubbed his studio Taihua lou, and Duan Fang his Taihua Shuangbei zhi guan (both names in honour of the Taishan stele and another rarity, the Huashan stele).
3. The Wufeng Ernian stele was found during the restoration of the Kong Miao (Hall of Confucius) in the third year of the Mingchang era of the Jin (1192). Rubbings of early Western Han steles are extremely rare (Wufeng Ernian is the fifth year of the Wufeng era of the Western Han, 56 A.D.). The present rubbing is also very early, as evidence from the colophon by Gao Deyi stating that not one character has been damaged. This should be a Yuan or early Ming rubbing.