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Maoling Mausoleum

a view of Maoling Mausoleum in XianThe Maoling Mausoleum is located in Maoling Village of Nanwei Town on the Weibei altiplano, about 40km north of Xian City in Shaanxi Province. The Maoling Mausoleum was the tomb of Emperor Wu of the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-8AD). It is grand in scale and is the biggest mausoleum among the imperial mausoleums of the Western Han Dynasty.

Emperor Wu (156-87BC) of the Han Dynasty, named Liu Che, was the son of Emperor Jing. During the 54 years of his reign, he greatly expanded the territory. As an emperor with great achievements in Chinese history, he governed the nation smoothly and reinforced his power. In the second year of his reign that is in 139 A.D., Emperor Wu began to build the Maoling Mausoleum, which took 53 years to finish.

Maoling Mausoleum

The Maoling Mausoleum is square and consists of the inner and outer city, with bounding wall around it. The rampart is 431m long from the east to the west, and 415m from the south to the north. The wall base is 5.8m wide; the gates are situated in the middle of the four walls. The cover tumulus is 46.5m high, 231m long from the east to the west, and 234m long from the south to the north. According to the historical record, the funeral objects were quite abundant, including gold and silver, birds and beasts, fish and turtles, cattle, horse, tiger, leopard, etc. There were altogether 290 kinds of animals in the mausoleum. Some maids-in-waiting the horse statue in Maoling Mausoleum in Xianwere also put in the mausoleum. Besides, the jade box, jade crutch presented by the king of Tang Qu and a gold box full of 30 volumes of classics that Emperor Wu had read were buried together with them. When Emperor Wu was buried, the funerary objects had already chocked up the space of the coffin chamber, leaving no room for any other stuffs.

Around the Maoling Mausoleum scatter the satellite tombs of the emperor's concubines, maids-in-waiting, ministers and royal relatives. There are still more than 20 tombs extant, including the tombs of Wei Qing, Huo Guang, Huo Qubing and Jin Ribei. Many cultural relics were found in this area, such as the fancy black jade knocker-holder with patters of animals, the steel rhinoceros wine vessel with pattern of clouds, and large airbricks and tiles carved with characters, patterns of red sparrow, dragon, and geometrical design. In 1981, more than 230 pieces of cultural relics were found in the eastern satellite tombs, such as the gold-plating copper horse, gold-plated and silver-plated bamboo smoke stoves and copper warming stoves. They are all rare art treasures. Now hundreds of the unearthed cultural relics found in the mausoleum are on display in the Maoling Mausoleum Museum. 
 
 

Maoling Mausoleum Tour

According to the historical records, there are more than 20 tombs scattered around the mausoleum. If you are interested in historical sites and the ancient architecture style, then during the Xian tour, please don't miss Maoling Mausoleum.