Photos in this category show one peculiar sculpture from the Ming-era section of the Confucius Cemetery (a few hundreds meters NW of the tomb of Confucius), and its immediate surrounding. The sculpture in question is an endearing small (about a meter long) bixi
turtle, which, rather unusually for this type of sculpture, has a round niche on its back (meant for a round pillar?), instead of a rectangular niche for a conventional flat tablet.
Unlike bigger, more conventional bixi turtles elsewhere in the Ming section of this cemetery (where more important dignitaries are buried), this miniature bixi is not a component of a full-fledged spirit way (shendao). In fact, there are no other sculptures in the vicinity of this bixi other than conventional vertical tombstones. So I am imagining a Ming era personage who did not qualify for a full shendao, but somehow was still allowed (or "could afford" is a better term here?) a small turtle.
While I can't date the bixi
itself, a tombstone (probably not directly related to the bixi
) just to the SE of it belongs to a 61st-generation descendant of Confucius, and is dated 36 Wanli (ca. 1608); this tombstone has the inventory number 9-223 written on its west side. Another tombstone, south of the mini-bixi is dated Hongzi 17 (ca. 1504). Unfortunately, I don't have a good photo of the stele north
of the bixi, which most likely is
the one related to it. (Steles and bixi
normally face south, and one would expect a bixi
to stand in front of the grave it is associated with).