Looking up at the tower…
….and looking down from the tower
Our first outing was on the first full day I was in Beijing, the Company that Alice works for had asked her if there was anywhere that I would like to see while I was on holiday in Beijing. Alice said she knew I would like to see the Ming Tombs, as we did not get there last time we were in China, so, courtesy of the company Alice, myself and two lovely young Chinese ladies Freya and Susie were taken to two of the tombs.
The Ming Tombs consist of 13 sites in all, 4 of which are open to the Public, we were lucky enough to be taken to two of these sites.
Entering the site
Ancient Cyprus trees and their roots..
The Ding Ling Tomb was the first of the sites we visited, the Underground Palace was discovered in 1956. The Palace is the mausoleum of the Emperor Zhu Yijun and his Empress and his favourite concubine. Zhu Yijun reigned for 48 years from 1563 – 1620, and the tomb was built between 1584 and 1590.
The tomb bed with the money offerings
The Emperors Throne, again with monetary offerings.
We entered the site and made our way up through the woods to the entrance of the Tomb, as the Palace is underground we found had to climb down an awful lot of stairs, we went down and down and down. In fact the Palace is a marble vault situated 88ft below ground. The thought of climbing back up all the stairs was a bit daunting, but I thought it would at least be cooler that far down. I was wrong in both cases!
The back of the Emperors Throne, marble of course.
Marble doorways between the Halls
The Rear Hall with the replica coffins, and boxes containing the treasures.
There are five very large, vaulted marble chambers in the Palace, we entered the Tomb in the Left Hall. Here was the coffin bed of the Emperor, although there are no coffins here. Instead there was a very large pile of money! Alice said the money is left there as offerings to the Emperor, and his wives.
Looking back into the tomb from the Diamond Wall
The exit from the tomb.
The Central Hall chamber holds the thrones of The Emperor, his wife and the concubine. These are all made of marble, each has the five glazed offerings plus a large blue china jar which would have held sesame oil. You can see from the photos the large amount of money here too. A lot of very valuable items were found in the tomb, these are now on display at the museum, sadly we did not have time to see them.
The Soul Tower at the top of the Hill holds this large ‘Stele’
The carving at the top of the ‘stele’
The carving at the base of the ‘stele’
The Rear Chamber holds the replicas of the coffins of the Emperor, Empress and the concubine, where many of the priceless treasures were found.
The Tower holding the ‘stele’
Wonderful carvings and roof tiles topping the wall surrounding the tomb.
We left the tomb by way of the Diamond Wall, I am unsure why it is called this, but this was the main entrance to the tomb, and the first part of the tomb that was excavated in 1956.
The elephant table and stools, I totally fell in love with these and wanted to bring them home with me, but I wasn’t allowed to!!
Susie, Alice and Freya on the elephant stools.
I said I would sit on an elephants back on this trip, I had no idea it would be one like this, aren’t they just lovely?
Ming Tombs – Changling in the next blog