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Old boundary stone turns out to be relic

A CENTURY-OLD boundary stone found a new home in the Shanghai History Museum yesterday morning after being ignored for decades in a narrow, twisting lane.

Ye Guoyong, a middle-aged shopkeeper living in Mianjin Lane, Huangpu District, said he found the stone up in a pile of rubble over 50 years ago when he was a kid.

The stone was used by Ye's family and neighbors as a bench or to store bowls and washboards on since, but on Wednesday, they were surprised to learn the stone was a cultural relic.

It is the first boundary stone found in Shanghai to be named Pu, said Xue Liyong, a former researcher at Shanghai History Museum. Xue said the boundary stone was used before the 1911 revolution.

In the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the Shanghai government divided the land in Shanghai into 27 Pu, according to their commercial use, and marked off their boundaries with these stones, Xue said. This stone says "Shiwupu" - 15th Pu. These days, only the 16th Pu is still familiar to local residents, as it can be found in the name of the Shiliupu Dock.

Shanghai changed its administration division later, and the Pu boundary stones were demolished. Ye and his friends found the stone when the government was building Fuxing Road and tore up the old sidewalk, he said.

"I didn't pay much attention to the stone," he said. "It was just like other stones except for some words on it."

A photographer surnamed Xi found the stone when taking pictures of old Shanghai lanes near Fuxing Road E. and Zhonghua Road last Friday.

Uploaded in a forum on cultural relic protection of Website, his photos aroused much attention. Shanghai History Museum soon dispatched teams to collect the stone.


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