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Tang Tomb Site Xian

  • Li Zhi, the third emperor of Tang dynasty as well as his Empress Wu Zetian were laid to rest together in the Qianling mausoleum. This is the best conserved as well as the most representative one among the 18 Tang dynasty mausoleums. It is situated on top of Liang Mountain, 6 kilometres north of Qian in Shaanxi Province, about 80 kilometres from Xian. The capacity of the mausoleum is very big with the areas of the gardens and mausoleum totalling 2,400,000 square metres.
  • On the floors of the Qianling Mausoleum and on top of the mount, there are extremely attractive stone monuments. They are arranged in a row from the 'crimson sparrow gate' in the north to the tombs.
  • The 1st pair of stone statues is representative and point out that this is a mausoleum; after that comes a pair of red swallows and war steeds. The steeds have curling like cloud on their sides, as if they were flying in the clouds. The red sparrow is shown using high relief, with beautiful, strong figure. As per legends, this fabulous bird was sent like a funeral present to honor the emperor from the emperor of what is currently Afghanistan. It had the symbolic meanings of protection and homage, and for that reason it was engraved in the stone in front of the tomb.
  • Next are 5 pairs of horses made of stones. Stirrups, saddles and other equine accouterments are engraved on them. Initially each pair had stone grooms however these days just 3 remain. Ten pairs of retainers are behind the horses. They put on long crowns and have long robes which are fastened at the waist. Daggers are in their hands and they seem frightening because they protect the mausoleum.
  • Next come 2 lines of stelae, one is on the right hand side which is vacant. It has no writing or characters. This was placed by the Empress Wu Zetian before her death. It is 1.49 metres deep, 2.1 metres wide and 6.3 metres high. Contrary to this, another stele has about 8,000 characters, all gold coated after carving in order that their message might shine out. The text admires the military power and civilized rule of Emperor Gao Zong.
  • On the back side of gravestones on the right hand side of the grooms and horses way is a line of 61 stone sculptures of men. All of their heads have been destroyed, however 2 still remain to demonstrate us what they once appeared like: these men had deep-set eyes, high noses and were obviously people of Central Asian origin.
  • Two lions made of stone standing in front of the crimson swallow gate symbolize the excellent works of statue at the Qianling Mausoleum. These are ferocious and very big: with sharp teeth, open mouth, protruding eyes and curling fur they show all the power and authority the Tang dynasty had.
  • As per historical documents, a large number of mausoleums surrounded the Qianling imperial-tomb area. These were mostly stolen however certain best works of art remain which can be seen in this museum.