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The Mausoleums of the Ming and Qing Dynasties 明清皇家陵寝

Profile:The Mausoleums of the Ming and Qing Dynasties 明清皇家陵寝
The Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 to 1911 A.D.) were periods of splendor and glory in the history of Mausoleums. Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty, made a major reform of the Mausoleums, wherby the sealing mound was changed in form from the previous one of the dip upside down to the round or oblong one, without the residential palace, and had the worshipping hall enlarged. Continuing the system of the Ming Dynasty, the Qing Dynasty attached greater importance to the integration of the mausoleum and the surrounding landscape, to the array of the buried according to their hierarchical order of generation, and invented an associated order of prioritizing the emperor, the queen and the concubine(s), thereby making the worshipping system perfect and rational.
An Overview of the Mausoleums of the Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, spanning a period of 277 years, counted from the year 1368 when Zhu Yuanzhang, the First Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, to the 17th year through the reign of Emperor Chongzhen, underwent the rule of 16 emperors, 15 of whom had their mausoleums built according to the royal scheme with the exception of the Goodness Emperor, i.e. Zhu Yunwen, who was missing due to the Rebellion Quenching Campaign, and so was without one.
Zhu Yuanzhang the First Emperor was buried at the foot of Mount Zhongshan in Nanjing, and has been referred to as Xiaoling or The Mausoleum of Piety; Emperor Jing or Zhu Qiyu was murdered as a result of Emperor Yingzong uprising in an attempt to restore his throne, was buried first at Mount Jin in the western suburbs of Beijing in a royal ceremony, was restored of his emperorship during the Period of Chenghua when his tomb was enlarged to the status of an emperor’s mausoleum which has since been referred to as the Emperor Mausoleum or the Emperor Jingtai Mausoleum in general. The remaining 13 emperors were buried in Mount Tianshou meaning Mount Heavenly Longevity within the bounds of County Changping in Beijing, and are referred to as the Thirteen Mausoleums of the Ming Dynasty.
Furthermore, there were also mausoleums built for those who were not emperors in their life, but who were honored as such after death. Zhu Wusi or Zhu Shizhen, father of Zhu Yuanzhang, was honored Forefather Kindness the Honest Emperor and had his tomb enlarged to a mausoleum in Fengyang County, Anhui; Zhu Chuyi, grandfather of Zhu Yuanzhang, was honored Beatific Forefather the Emperor of Abundance after death; Zhu Sijiu, great grandfather of Zhu Yuanzhang, was honored Forefather Virtues the Eternal Emperor; Zhu Bailiu, his great-great grandfather, was honored Forefather Goodness the Abstruse Emperor; as the sites of burial of Forefathers Goodness and Virtues were not found out, the clothing and headwear of their queens and concubines as well as those of Beatific Forefather’s were collectively buried with abundant belongings at the former burial site of Beatific Forefather in Xuyi, Jiangsu, and the site was named the Ancestors’ Mausoleums; Zhu Youyuan, father of Emperor Jiajing or Good and Peaceful was first King Reviving Sage, but was honored Forefather Wise the Sagacious Emperor after Zhu Houcong had taken the throne, and had his father’s burial site at Zhongxiang, Hubei enlarged to the status of a conspicuous mausoleum.
An Overview of the Qing Dynasty’s Mausoleums
The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was the last feudal dynasty in China. It lasted for 295 years through the reign of 12 emperors in total, from the time when the First Emperor Nurhachi founded the empire to Emperor Xuantong declaring his own dethroning in the May Fourth Movement. With regard to their time of construction and locations, Qing Dynasty’s mausoleums may be divided into those three beyond the Pass, the East and West Mausoleums. The East and West Mausoleums, modeling on the Ming Dynasty’s scheme in both their organizations, structures and shapes wher the mausoleums were concentrated with a general entrance, starting from the Front Red Gate, through a general path, stone statues, steles and pavilions, and then to the individuals mausoleum sections.
The outlay goes in the order of five-arch stone bridge, decorated archway, stele pavilion, three-arch bridge, the big terrace, gate to the palace, Profound Kindness Hall and Right and Left Accessory Halls, and then there were stone flat-faced bridge, terrace, glazed gate, five arches, square city above which there’s a building, crescent-shaped city, the gem city and the gem top. The configurations for the mausoleums of the emperor, empress, prince, princess, concubines, etc., are constructed strictly to their respective schemes as a result of prototyped systems of rules.

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