The Ming Tombs

[ 明十三陵之長陵] The Ming Thirteen Tombs.
The construction started in 1409 and took 200 years to complete – the time when the Ming Dynasty (second last of Chinese dynasties) fell. It’s one of China’s largest imperial mausoleums.

The tombs lies in the northwest part of Beijing in a basin that’s considered a precious Fungshui land for is geological shape (as you will see in the following entry) with Tiger Hill and Snake Hill guarding the entrance to the whole basin. The Tombs is where thirteen out of the fifteen emperors and their empress, conubine and maids to reside in their afterlife. They say, you only need to see one tomb then you’ve seen all because they are all built the same way. We went to the …

largest one and most impressive one – Changling (長陵). It was built by emperor Zhuli (朱棣) who represented the height of the Ming Dynasty.

On our way to the Ming Tombs. The area is large and it was said that at the entrance of the Tombs, there’s a stone carving that tells the Ming emperors to dismount and can only walk and not ride on a horse or a carriage to pay their respect to their ancestors. I think it must have taken the more than one day to go to the different tombs! The area is huge for walking!

The overall layout of the Ming 13 Tombs. The tombs scatter over 40km in the basin. Only one of the 13 tombs was excavated. That is the Dingling (定陵).But it was excavated during a time when technology wasn’t too advance and just prior to the Cultural Revolution in China. So a lot of the treasures and the remains of the emperor buried in the underground palace were either lost or destroyed. Only a few remaining ones are now exhibited at the Changling. Dingling is now an empty shell. They say the reason why only that Dingling’s tomb was excavated and damaged was because the emperor deserved it for what he had done during his reign.

The layout of the Changling. The huge circular part is where the emperor and his empress, etc. are buried. Many suggest that the underground chamber below must be huge but there are no plans to excavate it.

The first hall as we enter Changling.

Te hall leading to the area where the emperor is buried.

The tomb stone to the large imperial burial behind.

Phoneix crown for empress from the Dingling that is now exhibited in the largest all in Changling.

Every brick that was used to construct this tomb had a sort of “LOT number” or “Manufactured by” mark on it.

After visitng the Changling, we went to the head quarter of a wel known Chinese medicine hospital/pharmacy in Beijing – Tongrentang (北京同仁堂). It’s here and among the many where you’ll find Chinese medicine’s competitive edge.

Chinese medicine pharmacy. We were there to do some foot massage but a famous and old Chinese medicine doctor was there at the time so some of us went there to have some diagnosis. You’d be amazed how the doctor can tell what kinds of issues ou have with your body and what kinds of medicine you’re taking for what just by feeling your pulse (& of course other stuff)!

Day 3 of 5 Beijing Trip Dec 23-27, 2008.


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