Treat death as life
Ancient Chinese proverb
Religion, one of the primitive institutions has always determined the way of life of mankind. So it did in the ancient Chinese civilization.
The Chinese had organized customs and rituals regarding the death and burial of an individual. This is where the tombs attain significance. On 17 February 2010, 18 tombs from ancient China were unearthed by the archaeologists in Xiqianliu village, in Xingtai’s Qiaoxi District. In 2007, the discovery that the human remains found in a 1,400-year-old Chinese tomb belonged to a European was astonishing!
Origin of Ancient Chinese Tombs:
Belief in an afterlife was the heart of Chinese religious rituals. The origin of the tombs can be traced back to 1409 where tombs began to be constructed on a small scale. The construction of tombs continued for 200 years until the fall of Ming dynasty in 1644.
The area called Ming tombs near Beijing is famous for the number of tombs of kings present over there. 13 emperors of the Ming dynasty were buried in this place. The Ming dynasty ruled from 1368-1644. The Sacred Way inside the gate of the Ming Tomb is lined with 18 pairs of stone human figures and animals.
Famous Ancient Chinese Tombs:
Tombs of the ancient Chinese emperors and nobles were rather elaborate. To mention a few, the dangling tomb of emperor wanly and his empress took 6 years to complete. Situated at the foot of Dayu Mountain, it has a total area of 1195 square meters. Its underground palace has an antechamber, a central chamber and left and right annexes.
There are two marble doors and a variety of human and animal figures. Hanyangling is the joint mausoleum of the emperor Liu Qi and his empress in the Western Han dynasty. This magnificent tomb signifies social hierarchy as it signifies rigid social hierarchy.
The tomb at Dawenkou deserves mention. The tomb was 1.6 m tall and the tomb pit was 4.2 m in length, 3.2 m in width, and 0.36 m deep. It was a woman about 50 to 55 years old. The tomb contained 94 pottery containers and lids, 3 jade objects, 7 stone objects, 6 ivory objects, 1 bone tube, 2 deer teeth etc.
The Yuengling tomb was built in 1536 for Emperor Shizong. The tomb of Liu Sheng at Hebei looked like a typical home. Tomb Changeling, built in 1413 was for emperor Yongle, the third emperor of the Ming dynasty. It covers more than 100, 0000 square meters. The joint tomb of the emperor Jingdi and his wife Empress Wang displayed 24 vaults filled with over 40,000 clay soldier figurines.
It was around the 4th century BC that the Chinese began to build large mounds over the Chinese Tombs and temples nearby so that offerings could be made to the ancestors. Ancient Chinese tombs are visited by people all over the world every year.