THE MING TOMBS
Changping County, northwest of Beijing, lie the tombs of thirteen Ming
Dynasty Emperors who ruled China from 1368 to 1644.
As one approaches the area via the Spirit Way, or Avenue of the Animals,
24 wonderful Ming Dynasty sculptures of animals appear, each carved out
of a single large piece of stone. There are 12 pairs of animals. Beyond
the animals are 12 stone carvings of 4 fierce looking soldiers. 4 civil
officials, and 4 scholars.
Coffins of emperors were carried to their final resting place in their
tomb along this avenue.. When a Ming Emperor died all of his concubines
were buried alive to serve him in the next world.
Emperor Yongle was buried in Changping
in 1424 at the end of Spirit Way.
A model, with explanations in English, of the the entire site is displayed
in the Palace of Sacrificing. This is the best preserved of all the tombs.
One of the three tombs open to the public is the mausoleum of Ming Dynasty
Emperor Wanli. Jewelry, garments, porcelain, curios, and religious artifacts
are on display in the museum.
A visit to a Great Wall site can easily be combined with a tour of the