Gate of Ling En which means the Gate to Paradise. In the second courtyard of Emperor
Yongle's Tomb, you'll find the Ling En Palace which is the most imposing building in the
mausoleum area. The palace stands on a 3.2 metres highs three storeyed marble foundation,
with white marble steps leading to the palace hall and surrounded by white marble
The palace is 61 metres in width and 29 metres in
depth, total area is 1956 square meters, 60 gold filigree Nanmu Column support the whole
palace, which can match the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City in its grandeur.
This Nanmu Palace, the largest among buildings of wooden structure has stood over 500
years of wind and rain without slightest tilt or deformation.
In the 3rd
courtyard is inner red gate and Soul Tower (Ming Lou), the Soul Tower is situated on the
10 metre high Baochen which is a walled city, behind Ming Lou is Baoding which is a long
shaped structure over 1 Km in circumference, under the center of Baoding is the
Underground Palace where Zhu Di, the emperor Yongle was buried.
Zhu Di is the 3rd
emperor of the Ming Dynasty, he built for himself this tomb when the capital was moved to
Beijing. Emperor Yongle's Tomb is the largest, earliest and best preserved among the 13
Tomb is now one of the three Ming tombs which are open to visitors.
Zhu Yijun, the
emperor Ming Shenzong built Dingling for himself. He ascended the throne at nine with the
title Wanli and reigned for 48 years, he is the 13th emperor who reigned the longest in
the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yijun all took up personally the site selection, planning and
construction of his mausoleum.
In 1584, the 21
year old emperor Wanli decided on the site of Dingling and assembled several 10,000
workers, civilians, troops to take part in its construction. Workforce on the site of
construction was more than 30,000 each day.
emperors should build tombs bigger than his ancestors'. However, the scale, materials used
and workmanship exceeded Yongling in many aspects, 6 years later, the construction of
Emperor Wanli's Tomb was completed, the total expenditure amounting to over 8 million hang
or about 250 tons of silver which corresponded to the total income of two years of state
revenues at that time.
Tomb is the only one out of the 13 Ming Tombs excavated so far. Excavation work started in
1956, and finished in 1958. The excavation work unearthed many historical relics which are
now on display in the Dingling Musuem. Dingling Museum was opened to public in 1959, and
it has an underground Palace and two exhibition rooms, one presents the process of the
excavation and the other displays the treasure unearthed in the underground palace.
Emperor Wanli had
two wives. The first wife Empress Xiaoduan had no son, she died only several months before
his death and she was entitled to share the mausoleum with the emperor. The second wife
Empress Xiaojing, who gave birth to the only son of the emperor died in 1612, eight years
before the emperor's death and was buried only as an imperial concubine in a nearby tomb.
However, the only
son of the second wife succeeded the throne but died within a month after his succession.
He left the throne to his son. After the grandson became the emperor, he decided to
promote his grandmother to the rank of Empress Dowager so that she could share the Tomb
with Emperor Wanli. That's why Emperor Wanli shared his tomb with two wives.
Please follow me
to the two sketch maps of the Ming Tombs, this map gives us a panoramic view of the whole
13 Ming Tombs, while the other shows the Underground Palace of Emperor Wanli's Tomb.
Dingling means the
Tomb of Certainty, it is Emperor Wanli's Tomb. The other Soul Towels reveal the location
of the other tombs. The Gate of Dingling and that place is our present site at the sketch
map. In front of the Sour Tower, on both sides are two exhibition halls one on each side.
Underneath the Soul Tower is the 27 metre deep Underground Palace.
Palace is composed of five joint halls in the front, middle, back, left and right
respectively, all built with marble, upon completion of the Underground Palace, the
emperor Wanli held a grand feast in it, seeking pleasure and making fun. Thirty-eight
years later, Emperor Wanli died, he and two queens were buried together.
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