The Xiaoling Tomb is the burial place of Zhu Yuanzhang,the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty and his wife Empress Ma.It is situated below the Dulong Mound at the southern foot of the Zhongshan Mountain in the western part of Nanjing.As one of the largest imperial tombs existent in China,it became a major historic and cultural site under state protection in 1961.
In 2003,the 27th sension of the Unesco World Heritage Committee approwed to accept it into the World Heraitage List as an associated site of "the imperial tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties."
Nanjing was made the capital of Ming Dynasty after the overthrow of the Mongols. Later, the capital was moved to Beijing. Hence the early Ming emperors were buried in Nanjing while later were buried in Beijing Ming Tombs.
The Nanjing Ming Tombs are smaller that the later Beijing Tombs. But I am just impressed by the animal statues leading to the tombs. The actual tombs have not been found and so it will be exciting when they are actually located.
The Ming Tomb is part of a larger tourist site known as Zhongshan Mountain National Park that includes a number of different parks, walks and monuments. The Ming Tomb is the tomb of Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the Ming dynasty. He was buried here in 1398.
There are a number of buildings associated with the tomb including Xiama Water Bridge, Big Golden Gate, Square City,Golden Water Bridge, Dajinmen gate, Wenwu Gate, Sifangcheng pavilion, Xiaoling Palace, Rectangular Citadel, Ming Tower and Treasure Mound. Make sure that you get a tourist map which does show you where everything is but unfortunately little else.
For this reason the significance of the various buildings "escaped" me but it was interesting to walk along the Sacred Avenue with its Stone Sculptures and meander through the various gates and "pavillions"
The mausoleum lies at the northern foot of Mount Zijin (Mount Purple Gold). Legend says that in order to prevent robbery of the tomb, 13 same processions of funeral troops started from 13 city gates to cover the real burying site. The construction of the mausoleum began in 1381 and ended in 1405, taking 100 thousand labors 25 years with huge amount of expenditure. The original wall of the mausoleum was more than 22.5 kilometers. Under heavy guard of 5,000 military troops, the mausoleum was heavily constructed and planted.
We were travelling with our father in laws and have to join a tour package (We hate to be tied to a tour schedule). One of the visit is to the Ming Tomb which we find that too short a time was given to explore this place.
If given a longer time, we should discover more interesting items than this silly tortoise statue placed somewhere around the tomb area.
Visitors should know that a Chinese Emperor Tomb is not just a slab of stone but can cover several miles in area.
The first gate you will see when you enter graveyard of MingTomb is the Civil and Military Gate, and followed by two well pavilions on each side of the wall, 3) Eastern Well Pavilion and 4) Western Well Pavilion.
Civil and Military Gate: In 1998, the Administration of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's Mausoleum had its original appearance restored according to the burial system of the Ming Tomb of the Ming Dynasty. At the foot of the gate there is a "Special Notice" tablet inscribed in Japanese, German, Italian, English, French and Russian. It was jointly erected for the preservation of the Ming Tomb in the first year under Xuantong Reign of the Qing Dynasty (AD 1909) by the taotai (head) of Liangjiang Westernization Bureau and the magistrate of Jiangning Prefecture.
In the yard formed by Civil and Military Gate and the front gate of the Sacrificial Hall, there were two wells sheltered under pavilions in Ming Dynasty. In the Ming dynasty, water drawn from these two wells for the use of cleaning sacrificial animals and cooking meals for the imperial court.
In Chinese: 文武方门， wen wu fang men
Next: The Imperial Kitchen
The original Sacrificial Hall was built in 1383 for the memorial tablets of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. It was a huge wooden structure with 9 bays in width and 5 deep with 56 stone column bases which still exist today. This building was destroyed by war in 1853 and this building was then built in its place.
" Facing the west, the Imperial Kitchen was built on a high platform. It was 27.5 meters long, and 11.3 meters wide, or 5 bays in width. Two big square bricks with burnt marks have been unearthed from the site. Therefore, it is supposed to be remains having something to do with imperial kitchen. "
Note from Signboard.
Next: Imperial Tablet Hall
In Chinese: 御厨基址， yu chu ji zhi
" Imperial Tablet Hall was built under the order of Qing Emperor Kangxi. During his third inspection tour to southern China in 1699. Kangxi came here to pay homage to the Ming emperor. Seeing the building mostly ruins, he ordered local officials to renovate them and wrote four characters " zhi long tang song" (literally meaning " Running the state even better than Tang Emperor Taizong and Song Emperor Taizu, two successful emperors in Chinese history" ) to be inscribed on a tablet by Cao Yin (grandfather of Cao Xueqin, one of the greatest men of letters in Chinese history. Another two tablets inscribed with handwriting by Qing Emperor Qianlong (grandson of Emperor Kangxi) were juxtaposed on both sides. "
Note from Signboard.
Next: The Eastern Hall
In Chinese: 碑殿， bei dian
" Eastern Hall is an important auxiliary sacrificial building to the east of the Sacrificial Hall. Excavated in March 1999, it was built on a lofty platform made of multi-layers of pure loess and pebbles. The platform is 70 meters long and 10 meters wide, or 15 bays in width and 3 bays in depth, on which the complete column plinths are still preserved. "
Note from Signboard.
In Chinese: 东配殿基址， dong pei dian ji zhi
Next: The Western Hall
The Sacrificial Hall was the most prominent building in Ming Xiaoling Tomb. It is the center hall of the mausoleum. The original building was constructed in 1383 as a leading room to the memorial ceremonies. It was the size of Tian'anmen in Beijing, 9-bays wide and 5-bays deep. During civil war under Qing emperor Xian Feng (1851-1861), the building was destroyed. The current building was built by Qing emperor Tongzhi (1862-1872), which is much smaller then the original building. Now, the building is the permanent exhibition of Xiaoling and Zhu Yuanzhang's life story.
In Chinese: 享殿， xiang dian
Next: Inner Red Gate
" In the north of the Sacrificial Hall, there is a gate, commonly called Yinyang Gate and also termed as Inner Red Gate, as it leads to the residence of the soul of the deceased. The gate divides the tomb palace building into the front area and the rear area, i.e. a layout of the tomb palace marked by " the court in the front and the residing place in the rear" first established in the Ming Tomb. Originally, Inner Red Gate was a red gate with three passages going through and its top was covered with yellow glazed tiles. In 2006, the Administration of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum renovated the gate according to its original form as a rescue, thus restored its historical appearance. "
Note From the Signboard.
In Chinese: 内红门， nei hong men.
Next: Ascension Bridge
" Ascension Bridge, 57.5 meters long and 26.6 meters wide, was a single-arch stone bridge with carved stone railings. After Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang died, his coffin was carried across the bridge to be buried, hence resulting in this name. 7.8 meters away behind it stands the Rectangular Citadel. "
Note from Signboard.
In Chinese: 升仙桥， sheng xian qiao
Next: Ming Tower & Citade
"The Rectangular Citadel is flanked by splay screen walls at the eastern and the western sides. They were laid with bricks and seated on stone Xumizuo. The waist of Xumizuo and the four corners of the walls are decorated with brick-carved patterns of flowers including pomegranates, evergreens, and peonies. With their standard style and meticulousness and vividness, they are regarded as representatives of the brick carvings produced in the early Ming Dynasty. "
"Ming Tower displays the architectural system initiated at the Ming Tomb. Built atop the Rectangular Citadel, it is the commanding point among all buildings of the Ming Tomb. There are three arched doors in its southern wall, and one in each of other three walls. The inside floor is paved with square bricks. its yellow glazed double-eave rood was destroyed during the reign of Qing Emperor Xianfeng. The top reconstruction started in Jun 2008. The construction lasted one year. "
Note from Signboard:
In Chinese: 明楼， ming lou
Next: Treasure Mound
" Also known as Dragon and Phoenix Gate, Lingxing Gate is an important ceremonial building on the Sacred Way of the Ming Tomb. It was originally built into a towering pailou (a decorated gateway) with six pillars and three entrances. Its column base and drum-shaped bearing stone date back to the Ming Dynasty. In 2006, the Administration of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's Mausoleum carried out a series of archaeological activities to renovate this building, bring its original appearance back to its life. "
Note from Signboard.
After this gate, you will continue to walk through a path road passing by Wengzhong Path, stone elephant road, and other stone animals as a custom to the tomb ceremony during Ming Dynasty.
In Chinese: 棂星门， ling xing men