Below Immortals-Gathering-Peak in the Twelve Peaks of Mt. Wu in Wu Gorge, there are several sheer cliffs on the two sides of the Yangtze River and they are smooth as if having been hewn and polished. There is a big sunken part of these cliffs that looks like a huge Niche. It is said that once Zhuge Liang, also known as Zhuge Kongming, who was the prime minister of Shu kingdom in the Three Kingdom Period in the 3rd century AD, wrote an inscription on it, describing the scenery in Wu Gorge and Wu Mountains. As a result, it was later named Kongming Tablet.
It was said that when Zhuge Liang passed Wu Gorge leading his army into Sichuan, he had his important strategic argument "Answers Given at Longzhong" carved on the cliff. In it he laid down the strategy of uniting the kingdom of Wu against the kingdom of Wei. But later, Liu Bei , who was the king of Shu kingdom, mistakenly launched an attack against the kingdom of Wu in revenge for Guan Yu and Zhang Fei , who were his sworn brothers, and was utterly defeated. When the Wu general Lu Xun came to Immortals--Gathering--Peak in pursuit of Liu Bei, he was greatly moved after reading the inscription carved on the cliff. Then he ordered his forces to withdraw immediately. After that, Kongming's Tablet became widely famous .
In fact, Zhuge Kongming never made any inscription on the Niche. There used to be inscriptions from different dynasties on it. But after exposured for long years to the natural elements, they have been so eroded that hardly any of them are still decipherable. Only fifteen characters are still intelligible nowadays. They mean "among the serried mountains and rocks of Wu Gorge, there are many famous peaks of fine scenery. The Twelve Peaks of Wushan. ... " The first six characters are most eye-catching. From the line of smaller characters on the edge which says "the . . . year of Jiajing", we can tell that most of the inscriptions were carved on it during the Ming Dynasty. It is widely believed that the ancient people certainly need courage and patience to chisel the inscriptions on the sheer cliffs above the roaring river waters. Their intelligence, spirits and braveness are greatly admired by people nowadays. When the Three Gorge Project is finished in the fututure, this area will be covered up by water and therefore the Kongming Tablet will be moved to another place.
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