Maoling Mausoleum

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The Maoling Mausoleum was the tomb of Emperor Wudi in the Western Han Dynasty, who had ruled the country up to 74 years. It is grand in scale, and it is the largest mausoleum among all the royal mausoleum of the Western Han Dynasty.

Maoling Mausoleum
Emperor WuDi

Emperor WuDi, named Liu Che, was the son of Emperor Jingdi. He was recognized as an Emperor of great achievement that can parallel Emperor Qin Shi Huang. He ascended the throne at 16 and in the year 112 B.C, he revoked the titles of 106 seigniors for he had realized the malpractice of eupatrid and established the Imperial College to train qualified officials and talents to strengthen feudal centralization. Meanwhile he also advocated statism in the fields of finance and commerce. For example, he announced that only the coins minted by the central government could be in circulation; metallurgy and salt processing were also forbidden among the people. Business run by the government enjoyed an exclusive right and the government imposed heavy property tax on industrialists and businessmen to enhance the income of the court. The Western Han dynasty became unprecedented rich and powerful, centralization strengthened and its feudal economy flourished. Emperor Han Wudi launched battles against the barbarian invaders on the northern border. In 138 B.C., He appointed Zhang Qian - Chinese ambassador- extraordinary to journey westward into Central Asia and opened the historic Silk Road and established the first cross-cultural exchanges between East and West. All of which have revealed that he was not only a stateman but also of great talent. The establishment of an official conservatory "Yuefu" and actualization of Dong Zhongru's proposal had a far-reaching influence afterwards.
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, Emperor Wudi began to build the Maoling Mausoleum, which took 53 years to finish.

Maoling Mausoleum is situated in the Mao Village of Huaili County, about 40 kilometers away from Xi'an City. It was entitled the name of "Chinese Pyramid" for not only its large size but also the richest burial contents stored, in addition to the longest building time of 53 years. On the whole, it is generally in a square-shape and consists of the inner and outer city as many tombs do. To be specific, the rampart is 431meters long from east to west, and 415meters from south to north. The wall base is 5.8meters wide; the gates are situated in the middle of the four walls. The cover tumulus is 46.5meters high, 231meters long from the east to the west, and 234meters long from south to north.

In accordance with the historical data, the funerary objects were quite abundant, including gold and silver, birds and beasts, cattle, horse, leopard and such kind. There were in all up to 290 kinds of animals in the tomb. Some female servers were put in as well. In addition, the jade box, jade crutch presented by the Emperor Tang Qu and a gold box filled with 30 volumes of classics that Emperor WuDi had read were buried together. When Emperor WuDi was buried, the funerary objects had already crammed the roomage of the coffin chamber, leaving no room for any other things.
Many satellite tombs of the emperor's concubines, maids-in-waiting, officers and imperial relatives disperse around the Maoling Mausoleum. Also a large number of cultural relics were found here, like the fancy black jade knocker-holder with patters of animals, the steel rhinoceros wine vessel with pattern of clouds, and things like that. 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. In order to show all the unearthed cultural relics found in the mausoleum to the public, there established the Maoling Mausoleum Museum that worth visiting for travelers.


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