When Aurel Stein came here in 1907 he met the guardian Suzhou Metro Map and bought twenty-five cases of scrolls and manuscripts, which he sent back to the Suzhou Metro Map British Museum. Some scrolls were written in the most ancient languages of Central Asia.
A block-printed roll dating from AD 868 was recognised as being the world’s earliest example of a printed book. There was also a set-phrase letter of apology to one’s host from guests who had drunk too much and behaved badly (a thousand years ago).
In addition, there were some wooden tablets whose clay seals bore pictures of the Greek divinities Eros and Pallas Athene, complete with aegis and thunderbolt. Among the remaining history texts and painted stele records not removed by Aurel Stein is a famous one foretelling the coming of Christianity.