Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties
Built between 1368 and 1911, The Imperial Tombs of the Ming (13681644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties includes Xianling Tombs of the Ming Dynasty, Eastern and Western Qing Tombs, Xiaoling Tomb of the Ming Dynasty, Ming Tombs in Beijing and Three Imperial Tombs of Shenyang, Liaoning Province. As some of the most important constructions of the nation at that time, they were often built under the personal inspection of the emperors themselves, and always designed with the closest attention and highest skills. Most of the mausoleums are still well preserved.
The Ming and Qing imperial tombs are located in topographical settings carefully chosen according to principles of geomancy (fengshui) and comprise numerous buildings of traditional architectural design and decoration. The tombs and buildings are laid out according to Chinese hierarchical structures and incorporate sacred ways lined with stone monuments and sculptures designed to accommodate ongoing royal ceremonies as well as the passage of the spirits of the dead. They illustrate the great importance attached by the Ming and Qing rulers over five centuries to the building of imposing mausolea, reflecting not only the general belief in an afterlife, but also an affirmation of authority.
The Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties are masterpieces of human creative genius by reason of their organic integration into nature, and a unique testimony to the cultural and architectural traditions of the last two feudal dynasties (Ming and Qing) in the history of China between the 14th and 20th centuries. They are fine works combining the architectural arts of the Han and Manchu civilizations. Their siting, planning and design reflect both the philosophical idea of “harmony between man and nature” according to fengshui principles and the rules of social hierarchy, and a dazzling illustration of the beliefs, world view, moral values and ideas about life and death of Chinese feudal society for thousands of years.
xianling Tomb of the Ming Dynasty