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Rare, stone tablet found in Shanghai contains a mystery

By Yang Jian (Shanghai Daily)

13:59, March 02, 2012

The 131-year-old landmark stone tablet found on Tiantong Road.(Shanghai Daily Photo)

A rare landmark stone tablet set up by businessmen in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) has been unearthed downtown, the first time such a stone was discovered in Shanghai, historians said yesterday.

However, the meaning of three letters on the 131-year-old tablet remained unknown and local historians yesterday invited local people, especially expats in the city, to provide some clues.

Historians dug out the 97-centimeter-long tablet on Tiantong Road in Zhabei District on Wednesday after local residents discovered it half-buried. The 50-kilogram tablet has "1881," "LOT 1358" and "RHA" engraved on the surface as well as vertical Chinese characters saying "Gongping Foreign Firm." It has been taken to the Shanghai History Museum for research.

"The '1881' was the year to set up the tablet, 'LOT 1358' was the serial number for the land," said Wu Zhiwei, deputy researcher of the museum. However, the meaning of "RHA," which Wu presumed was an abbreviation for the organization that set up the tablet, remained unknown.

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