Epitaph Stele for the Ming Royal King Lu

Epitaph Stele for the Ming Royal King Lu

National Treasure

National Treasure Intro

The Epitaph Stele for the Ming Royal King Lu is in the National Museum of History’s collection.

On August 19, 1959, while quarrying in the eastern part of Old Kinmen City in Kinmen, a stele was found buried deep in the ground; after scrubbing and cleaning it, the inscription on the stele could be read as, “Epitaph stele for the Ming royal King Lu.” Along with this inscription, it had the story of King Lu. Who was King Lu? King Lu was Zhu Yihai (1618-1662), a member of the Ming dynasty clan. After Li Zicheng captured Beijing in 1644, Zhu Yihai fled south. In 1645, he declared himself the regent of the Ming dynasty and moved to Kinmen in 1651; two years later, he got rid of the title of a regent. In 1662, he died of shortness of breath and suffocation due to phlegm stuck in his throat.

This stele has evoked many discussions among researchers. This stele also completes the story of King Lu’s life and corrects various misrepresentations about him. It is a rare and important historical document for the study of the history of Taiwan during Koxinga’s Ming dynasty reign and has special historical significance and origin.

This stele was designated as a national treasure in 2011 because of its historical, cultural, and academic value, as well as the fact that it provides documentation of the history of King Lu and corrects certain fallacies about Zhu Yihai.

National Treasure Appreciation

This epitaph stele is made of basalt. It is 63.5 cm long, 47 cm wide, and 5 cm thick, with an eight-character inscription that reads, “Epitaph Stele for the Ming Royal King Lu,” and the complete inscription of King Lu’s life is 19 lines, 734 Chinese characters.

When it was unearthed, the upper right corner of the epitaph had already been damaged, but the body of the stele was still completely intact.

The banner is engraved with an eight-character inscription that reads, “Epitaph Stele for the Ming Royal King Lu”.
This epitaph stele serves as foundation to correct previous historical records. For example, according to the History of the Ming Dynasty, King Lu met his end when Koxinga ordered his men to throw him into the sea, and the date of his death was disputed. However, the epitaph stele clearly states, “King Lu was suffering from heavy breathing, then on the 12th day of the 11th month, he fainted from phlegm and died.” This statement corrects the previous mistakes about the death of King Lu.


    1. Liu Zhanyan, “The Discovery of the Epitaph Stele of the Ming Royal King Lu,” The Taiwan Folkways, 10:1, 1960, pp.31-33.
    2. Hu Shih, “A Postscript for the ‘Epitaph Stele of the Ming Royal King Lu’ in Kinmen,” The Taiwan Folkways, 10:1, 1960, pp.38-41.
    3. Tainan City Historical Document Society, “Seven Observations from the Tainan City Historical Document Society about the Epitaph Stele for the Ming Royal King Lu,” The Taiwan Folkways, 10:1, 1960, pp.50-54.
    4. Huang Dianquan, “Research on the Epitaph Stele for the Ming Royal King Lu,” The Taiwan Folkways, 7:1, 1960, pp.1-76.
    5. Chen Chunsheng, “Between Ritual and Political Reality: A Study of King Lu’s Activities in Kinmen and Historical Memory,” in Cultural Affairs Bureau of Kinmen County (editor), 2012 International Academic Conference on the Studies of Kinmen. Kinmen: Cultural Affairs Bureau of Kinmen County, 2012, pp.1-19.


National Museum of History (NMH) was founded in 1955. The first national museum in Taiwan since 1949. The Museum was originally named as the “National Museum of Artifacts and Art”, and then that was changed to current name in 1957.

Two sets of artifacts fromed the bases of the NMH collection, one is the Chinese artifacts plundered during the Sino-Japanese War, and another is the artifacts from the previous Henan Province Museum (today’s Henan Museum). Both sets were transferrd to the MNH by the Ministry of Education. Afterwards, the NHM’s collection accumulated year by year through purchases and enthusiastic donations from all walks of life. To date, there are more than 50,000 artifacts within 19 categories, such as painting, calligraphy, bronze, pottery, etc.

The museum’s collection is rich and diverse, representing various cultural phases,and all these precious materials can be viewed on the“National Museum of History’s Database.”