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China's most beautiful Mausoleums/Tombs

During the reign of Chinese dynasties, the ancient Chinese believed that when a person dies, he or she entered into the after life. Death was comprehended as a prolongation of life, and an emperor's mausoleum was his after-life palace, mirroring his regal life on earth. All of the daily comforts of their past life such as servants, attendants, objects, pets, wives, guardians, concubines, food and drink were to be provided for them in the after life. This was accomplished by burying all of these things with the deceased when they died. As an ancient Chinese philosopher said, "Treat death as life." It was not uncommon to kill people in order to be buried with their master, but as dynasties evolved clay replicas replaced the real thing.During the reign of Chinese dynasties, the ancient Chinese believed that when a person dies, he or she entered into the after life. Death was comprehended as a prolongation of life, and an emperor's mausoleum was his after-life palace, mirroring his regal life on earth. All of the daily comforts of their past life such as servants, attendants, objects, pets, wives, guardians, concubines, food and drink were to be provided for them in the after life. This was accomplished by burying all of these things with the deceased when they died. As an ancient Chinese philosopher said, "Treat death as life." It was not uncommon to kill people in order to be buried with their master, but as dynasties evolved clay replicas replaced the real thing.

They attached importance to the funeral so much that every class of the society designed the mausoleums elaborately. In the long history, Chinese mausoleum buildings have well developed. The large scales of kings' and queens' mausoleums are rarely seen in the world. The mausoleums are integrated with various arts, such as painting, calligraphy, carving and so on. Therefore, mausoleum architecture is a synthesis of achievements in many artistic fields. The overall arrangements of Chinese mausoleums always include walls around, doors opened to four directions, as well as turrets on four corners. There are

Mausoleums are the most majestic and also the biggest building complexes in ancient China. These mausoleums are always built back on the mountains; some of them are also on the plains. There is usually a paved path leading to the tomb with stone persons and stone beast on both sides. Many trees, usually pines and cypresses, are planted around the mausoleums, which add to the atmosphere of solemn, respectful and quiet.


Qianling Mausoleumin Xi'an

Qianling Mausoleum The Qianling Mausoleum is about 70 meters above the path leading to tombs before the mausoleum, and so is much more magnificent than Qin and Han grave mounds which generally are only 20 to 30 meters above the path. The Tang imperial mausoleums are mostly built at the foot of mountains. Take Qianling, where Tang Emperor Gaozong was buried together with his wife Wu ZetianThe layout the grandiose Qianling mausoleum imitates Chang'an city(former name for Xi'an in the Tang Dynasty),including three parts: the palace city, the inner city and the outer city. The inner city covers an area of 2.3 million square meters with the gates on the four sides named: Scarlet Bird Gate in the south, the Tortoise Gate in the north, the Blue Dragon Gate in the east and the White Tiger Gate in the west. The outer city runs 40 km in circumference. The Qianling Mausoleum is honored as an open-air sculpture art museum of the Tang Dynasty with over 100 large-scale, elaborate and imposing stone sculptures, such as the ornamental columns, the horses with wings, the wordless tablet and 61 stone figures of foreign envoys. 


Xixia Mausoleum (Imperial Tombs) in Yinchuan 


Imperial Tombs :Yuanhao assumed the imperial title, it was known as the Xia Kingdom. In 1227, Western Xia was conquered by Yuan emperor Tai Zu (Genghis Khan). The Western Xia had ten ruling emperors over a 190 year period. The sites of the imperial mausoleums were chosen nearby at the east foot of the Helan Mountains, 25 kilometers west of Yinchuan City.Like other imperial tombs, Western Xia mausoleums were composed of two architectural units, the mausoleum gardens above ground and underground palaces. All the mausoleum gardens faced south, and their architectural forms above ground have some unique characteristics, though they are quite similar to mausoleums of the Tang and Northern Song dynasties in Gongxian County.

  Based on some excavations, each mausoleum had a unified layout, occupying an area of more than 100,000 square meters, surrounded by inner and outer walls. At each corner of the mausoleum gardens were watchtowers, providing visual indicators of the boundaries, serving functions similar to those of watchtowers of the Imperial Palace (Forbidden City) in Beijing. Mausoleum gardens were organized from south to north: Stone gates, tablet pavilion, outer city, inner city, hall furnished as an imperial bedroom and spiritual terrace.


The Ming Tombs in Beijing


The Ming Tombs, located in Changping District, about 50 kilometers from the northwest of Beijing, are surrounded by mountains on three sides. The imperial cemetery covers an area of 120 square kilometers and there are 13 Ming Dynasty emperors buried there (along with 23 empresses and a number of concubines, princes and princesses), thus it is also called The 13 Mausoleums. These tombs are the best preserved Chinese imperial tombs and have been nominated by UNESCO as world cultural heritage.The tombs are laid out according to Feng Shui principals and the entire area is protected by a wall. The surrounding area is also landscaped with statues and smaller structures.

Only three of the tombs have so far been excavated, the last being completed in 1989. One of these, the Dingling tomb has been made into a museum made up of the Underground Palace and two exhibition rooms containing excavated treasures from each of the three tombs.


Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum in Nanjing

Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum
Covering an area of 80,000 square meters (about 20 acres), Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum is located in the Zhong Mountain Scenic Area in the east suburb of Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province. As the mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the father of the Republic of China, it is considered the Holy land of Chinese people both home and abroad. With deep historical significance, magnificent architecture and beautiful scenery, it is a must see when traveling in Nanjing.
The majestic Mausoleums construction was started in 1926 and completed in 1929. The whole Mausoleum Scenic Area represents an alarm bell as seen from the air, symbolizing the noble spirit and heroic efforts of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's devotion to the Chinese people, fight of oppression and wining the independence of China. Facing south, the structures, along with the mountain ascends gradually along with the central axis line running from south to the north and is regarded as the most outstanding mausoleum in Chinese modern architectural history.


The Confucius Mausoleum inQufu


The Confucius Mausoleum
Situated in the north west of Qufu City, the Confucius Mausoleum, mausoleum for Confucius and his family, is the oldest and largest clan mausoleum in the world. It was first built in the year following Confucius's death and has been renovated later for many times since Han Dynasty with the increase of Confucius's social status. The Mausoleum covers a total area of about two square kilometers and was encircled by 5.6 km long, 3 meter wide and 1 meter wide wall. Kuo Muoruo, a scholar in modern China, once said :"The Mausoleum is a perfect museum of nature, and also the annals of the Confucius." The mausoleum plays an implacable role in the research of the development of China's politics, economy and culture of the feudal society and the evolution of China's funeral practice.


Maoling Mausoleumin Xi'an 

Maoling Mausoleum is located in Maoling Village of Nanwei Town on the Weibei altiplano, about 45km north of Xi'an City in Shaanxi Province. The Maoling Mausoleum was the tomb of Emperor Wudi in the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-8AD). It is the biggest mausoleum among the imperial mausoleums of the Western Han Dynasty.The tomb was built of rammed earth in the shape of a four-sided dipper ,46 meters high and 240 meters long. The tomb covers over 54,000 square meters. The mausoleum is square and consists of the inner and outer city, with bounding wall around it. According to the records, the funeral objects were so abundant that the tomb could hardly hold even before Emperor Han Wudi died.


Han Yangling in Xi'an

Han Yangling As the joint tomb of Liu Qi and his Empress, Wang. The Han Yang Ling Museum is the most eastern of the nine Western Han imperial mausoleums on the Loess Plateau. Referring to Han Yang Ling Museum as "Oriental Venus" is no exaggeration. Archeological excavations at the Han Yang Ling showed that this underground palace was built by some 10,000 prisoners. It was built in the year 153 AD and covers an area of 20 square kilometers (4,942 acres). The tomb is devided into two sections, the museum and the excavation. In the museum, there are numerous terracotta figurines (over 50,000 were buried here), including eunuchs, servants, domesticated animals and even female cavalry on horseback. The figures oringinally had movable wooden arms (now gone) and were dressed in colourful silk robes. The site is also a magnificent and abundant cultural relic, comprising the emperor´s tomb, empress´tomb, the south and north burial pits, ceremonial site, human sacrifice graveyard and criminals´cemetery.

The mausoleum is neatly arranged, centered with the emperor´s tomb, revealing the strict hierarchical social structure. The Outside Pits Exhibition Hall was opened in 2006 and is the first underground museum in China.


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