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Dingling Tomb

In 2000 November, Royal Mausoleum of Ming and Qing dynasty was honored "World Cultural Heritage" by the UN Organization of Science, Education and Culture.

Locating in Northern China, the Royal Mausoleum of Ming and Qing dynasty is the biggest and most completed among the mausoleums that still exist today in China for emperor and empress built in ancient time.

Ming Mausoleum is built in a small basin on the foot of Tianshou Mountain in Changping district, the northwest area of Beijing, and 44km away from the downtown. The mausoleum is 40km2 large, consists of 13 tombs of Ming dynasty, such as Chang Ling, Xianling, Jingling, Yuling, Maoling, Tailing, Kangling, Yongling, Zhaoling, Dingling, Qingling, Deling, Siling, etc, they are generally known as "Ming Thirteen Mausoleum".

Dingling Tomb is the representative royal tomb of the Ming Dynasty tombs. Shisanling (13 royal tombs) of the foot of Dayu Mountain, Shisanling Region, Chang Ping County, Beijing. They are scattered in the basin of 40 square kilometers. Shisenling have 13 royal tombs of Emperors of the Ming Dynasty, generally called Royal Tombs of the Ming Dynasty.

Dingling is the tomb of the thirteenth Emperor Shenzong (Zhuyijun) of the Ming Dynasty and his two Queens, Xiaoduan and Xiaojing.

The construction of Dingling Tomb started in the 12th year of Wenli of Shenzong's reign (AD1584) and was completed in the 18th year of Wanli (AD 1590). Buildings on the ground consist of Treasure City, Grand Mansion, Lingen Hall, two ground auxiliary halls, Lingen Gate, Ling Gate, Shenbo Oven, Dinvine Wardrobe, Divine Stock, Slaughter Pavilion and Wailuo City etc. At present, the Treasure City and Grand Mansion of the Ding Ling have been preserved fairly well.

The Grand Mansion is not only gallant and splendid, but also does not have a piece of wood and a nail. The rafters, brackets and inscribed board of the upper and lower caves are all inlaid with white stone sculptures and painted with colorful pictures which look like wood structure.

The Underground Palace Halls, a labyrinth palace building, were the first royal tomb excavated in accordance with plan in China. The labyrinth palace building consists of 5 underground halls, i.e. front, middle, back, left and right halls, with the total area 1195 square kilometers. There are seven stone gates in the five halls. The stone gates of the front, middle and back halls were most finely done with sculptured white marble. Every stone gate has two leaves, each of which is 3.3 m high and 1.8 m broad and weighs about 4 tons. On every facade of leaf, 81 nipple like nails and decorative beast head holding knocker in the mouth are sculptured. The back hall, the biggest one in the underground palace, is also called labyrinth room, which is the main part of the Underground Palace. It is 9.5 m high, 9.1 m broad and 30.1 m long, paved with polished piebald stones. On the front of the coffin platform, inner and outer coffins are laid with the Emperor Zhuyijun in the middle and two Queens, Xiaoduan and Xiaojing on two sides respectively.

Exhibition Room: The excavated articles of Ding Ling are 3000 odd in total which include a great number of gold, silver, jade, China wares. Textiles, crowns, belts and ornaments of emperor and queens, tin wares, posthumous tittle books and posthumous treasures etc.

Gold Crown: It was made of extremely thin gold threads, on which two dragons playing with pearl are inlaid, a skilful master piece with vivid posture. It is the first discovery among excavated articles in China.

Phoenix Crowns: Four Phoenix Crowns were excavated, on each of which 5 thousand odd pearls and 1 thousand odd precious stones have been inlaid. Phenix Crown was worn by queen on ceremonial occasions.

Dragon Gown: It was worn by Emperor Zhuyijun on grand ceremonial occasions, on which 12 dragon designs were embroidered.

Hundred Son Clothes were worn by Queen Xiaojing, on which double dragon longevity character was embroidered. All around the clothes, designs of pine, bamboo, plum, stone, peach, pear, banana, ganoderma, glossy and different flowers and grasses and picture of hundred sons were embroidered, vivid and lively, remarkably true to life

The Dingling Museum is located in Changping County at the foot of the Yanshan Mountains, outside Beijing. This is the site of the world-famous Ming dynast 'Thirteen Tombs' and it counts as the tenth among those thirteen. The thirteenth emperor of the Ming dynasty is buried here, together with his two empresses. Zhu Xianjun was the Shenzong emperor, with the reign name of Wanli. He ascended the throne at the age of ten, in " 1572, and was on thethrone for 48 years. This was the .t, longest reign of any Ming dynasty emperor.

The Dingling tomb construc?tion was begun in 1584 and was finished in 1590. The cost of construction was said to be eight million liang of gold; it stands on 18 hectares of land. The main buildings are built along an axis that includes a stone bridge, stelae tower, gates, halls, tower, surrounding wall and the underground palace hall. The surface buildings were destroyed several times by fire, so except for the minglou, banding, wall, and underground palace which have been relatively well preserved, only traces remain of the other buildings.

The designer of Ling Yuan imitated the layout of Chang Ling. Scientists found the base palace of Ding Ling from 1956 to 1958, now it has been changed into a underground museum.

In May of 1956, archaeologists found the entryway to the underground palace at a depth of 27 meters. This was called the 'gold steel wall' gate and it stands 8.8 meters high. In it was a doorway shaped like the Chinese character for man. This entryway was tightly sealed with twenty-three layers of large bricks. Tearing down this human-shaped entryway in the gold steel wall, they followed along the corridor inside and encountered two large carved-jade doors. These were three meters high, and each of the two swinging doors in the frame was 1.8 meters wide and weighed around four tons. On them were carved nine rows of the symbolic knobs. A bronze beam of around ten tons in weight was set across the top part of the door: the axles of the doors were set in this so that they could swing open. Beyond the doors was an underground palace hall containing a suite of connected rooms, including front, middle, rear, left and right chambers. All were spacious and separated by seven stone gates. The front and middle halls used 'gold bricks' as a floor covering, the others were of stone construction.

The rear chamber was the main part of the palace. Three coffins lay here, with Zhu Xianjun in the middle and his two empresses on either side. Twenty-six red?lacquered cases were set around the coffin, holding some 3,000 items made of gold, silver, gems, ceramics, jades, and fabric, all to accompany the burial.

An emperor's gold crown unearthed in the Dingling Tomb. An empress's phoenix crown unearthed in the Dingling Tomb.
All of the Dingling Museum's collections come from articles unearthed from this underground palace. They are not only beautiful, they represent a valuable resource for studying Ming court life and Ming craftsmanship.

Among items excavated from Dingling are the emperor's crown and a phoenix crown that are particularly notable. The golden crown is woven of very thin threads of gold and two golden dragons are crouched and coiled on top. The crown is 24 centimeters high with a diameter of 20.5 centimeters and a weight of 826 grams. The phoenix crown was used by the empress when she received visitors at court. It uses lacquered bamboo and silk as a base and on top are silk gold dragons and a jadeite phoenix, as well as flowers that are created out of gems. The crown is encrusted with 150 precious gems and more

Admission Fee: Dingling Tomb: CNY40 (Nov.1 to Mar. 31)
                  CNY 60 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31)
Opening Hours: Dingling Tomb: 08:30 to 18:00
Time for a Visit:
Two hours
Tourist Bus Route: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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