Another fascinating ruin from the Tang Dynasty is the famous
Qianling Mausoleum. It was built on the Liang Mountain 50 miles
northwest from central Xi’anand very close to the Terracotta Army Museum. The mausoleum holds great historical significance for China, as it contains a unique joint tomb of an emperor couple, Emperor Gaozong and his wife, later Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty. Empress Wu Zetian is known as the first and only female empress in all of China. Upon later discovery, excavated accompanying tombs include Mausoleum of Princess Yongtai, who was supposedly killed by the empress out of jealousy of her beauty, the Mausoleum of Crown Prince Zhanghuai, and the Mausoleum of Prince Yide. A large number of cultural relics and murals have been discovered within the Qianling Mausoleum. The tomb of Princess Yongtai is especially known for its extremely fine wall paintings and for the rarity of the many items found. The wall paintings found in her tomb depict some famous buildings of the time, vivid scenes of courtly life, and magnificent ceremonial parades. The mausoleum was first built in 684 and is one of the best-preserved tombs among the Tang Dynasty's 18 mausoleums. In fact, the tomb of the Emperor and Empress is one of few mausoleums from the Tang Dynasty that has not been looted by grave robbers.
The design of the tomb site replicates the city of Chang'an and in accordance with traditional Chinese architecture was built on a north-south axis. The southern approach into the mausoleum is set between two smaller hills and the path to the Emperor's tomb is lined with beautiful stone animals as well as human figures. These include horses and ostriches, winged horses and a pair of stone lions that have been there for more than 1,300 years. In all there are 124 stone sculptures there are distinct Western influences in these sculptures. These elegant statues are a reminder of the fact that the Tang was very much involved with trade and diplomatic exchange with the world far beyond China's borders. A climb to the top of the tomb will give you a fine view of the surrounding countryside.
The Qianling Mausoleum and its neighboring tombs are great to
visit in the summer months when visiting
Xi’an. The excellent location,
stunning statues and artifacts, and interesting aspect of Chinese
history are just a couple of reasons to visit the beautiful area.
and see the famous Terra Cotta Warriors.