Han Tombs in Shaanxi Province
From Greg Cruey,
On the road between Xi'an and Baoji in Shaanxi Province, a number of imperial tombs of the Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties exist.
About 13 miles from Xi'an, excavation of the tomb of Emperor Liu Qi (ruled 157-141 BC) of the Western Han Dynasty was started in 1999. The tomb is expected to open to the public in the not too distant future.
Lui Qi's was the fourth emperor of the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220A.D.) and is remembered for a period of economic and cultural development. His tomb is the most eastern of the nine Western Han tombs discovered so far. His Empress, Wang, died in 126 BC and she shares the tomb with Lui Qi.
Construction of the tomb took 28 years. It was started in 153 B.C. The grounds covers more than four square miles. The burial mound is about 105 feet high and has been described as "a topless pyramid." In keeping with tradition, the tomb of Lui Qi's Empress is separate, but nearby.
Over 80 other smaller tombs are at the site and excavation has so far yielded some 60,000 or so burial objects -- from painted pottery to chariots and weapons.
Lui Qi's tomb also includes the largest human sacrifice graveyard to ever be found in China. Some five thousand burial tombs for victims of the sacrifice have been verified.
One of the most interesting things found at the site was a game board for the Chinese game, goh (or "go").
While the tomb of Lui Qi may not be open to the public yet, the tomb of another Western Han Dynasty prince is open. It is in the Fengtai District of Beijing and is known as The Dabaotai Western Han Dynasty Tombs Museum.
Dabaotai was discovered in 1974 and covers an area of 18,000 square meters. The site encloses the tomb of Liu Jian (73 - 45 B.C.), the prince of Guang Yang of the Western Han Dynasty. The findings at the tomb give great insight into Han Dynasty culture.
The museum at Dabaotai also provides visitors with an experience in excavation work.
Another important Han Dynasty tomb is that of Ma Wang Dui in Changsha, Hunan Province. The tomb is located in the eastern suburbs of the city. It was discovered in 1972. The tomb contains the Marquis Dia, his wife, and his son. Some 3000 relics were found in the tomb, including a complete text of the Daoist classic I Ching written on silk. The artifacts from the tomb are, for the most part, now in the Hunan Provincial Museum. That includes the very well preserved corpse of Zin Hui, the Marquess of Dai. She was so well preserved that after 2100 years her skin was still flexible.
Maoling, the tomb of Emperor Wudi (ruled 140 - 87 B.C.) is another important Han tomb in the Xi'an area -- about 27 miles from Xi'an. Wudi was also sometimes known as Lui Che. He was crown prince at age seven, emperor of China during the Western Han Dynasty at age 16, and reigned for 54 years -- the longest reign of a single emperor in Chinese history.
Wudi was 71 when he died. Maoling, where he is buried, is about 150 high and almost 800 feet long. A wall once surrounded the mausoleum, but it is mostly gone now. The ruins of three watchtowers can also be discerned. Maoling is the largest of the Western Han Dynasty tombs. It also contained the largest number of artifacts. Wudi spent 53 of his 54 years on the throne constructing Maoling, and records indicate that an average of about one third of all state revenue went toward the tombs construction. After his death, maintenance of the tomb occupied some 5000 or so workers -- gardeners, maids, etc. A city of over a quarter million residents sprang up around the tomb and it was considered an honor to be able to live near the emperor's burial place.
About a mile northeast of Maoling is the tomb of Huo Qubing, one of Wudi's generals. The general died at the ripe old age of 24, and Wudi ordered the tomb built to honor the general. The tomb is built to resemble a mountain, but particular rocks on it are carved into beasts -- horses, tigers, elephants, bears, etc. -- in various active poses. In one section a wild horse is stomping a Hun to death...
There is a small museum near Huo Qubing's tomb.
Article sur http://goasia.about.com/cs/china/a/china_tombs2.htm
Dernière mise à jour le 29/11/12
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