Over the past several decades, hundreds of donor inscriptions (zaoxiangji 造像記) and works of Buddhist epigraphy have been discovered, making them an abundant historical source on medieval China. To date, research related to these artifacts has mainly concentrated on the religious and political function of these inscriptions. This article, considering the literary and cultural aspects of these pieces, investigates how Buddhist epigraphy can be used to trace the development of traditions of writing during the Northern Dynasties period. It starts by analyzing a seldom-researched inscription, “Dangchanggong Huifusi bei” 宕昌公暉福寺碑 (The Duke of Dangchang's Huifu Temple Stele), and then examines its historical and cultural context. The article continues with an investigation into the common trends found in Northern Dynasties epigraphy by comparing “Dangchanggong Huifusi bei” with other pieces of extant Buddhist inscriptions. The analysis explores the literary characteristics of these works, the political and social background of their creation, and the culture associated with such inscriptions.

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