The Qianling Mausoleum, now an AAAA-class tourist attraction with typical grand Tang Dynasty cultural features, is among the first key sites of historic value to be protected and promoted by the government. There is a pair of ornamental columns at Qianling Mausoleum. They represent the heyday of feudal cultural art of stone sculpture in the Tang Dynasty and have become an open-air museum of stone sculpture culture.
Lying on the Liangshan hill, 6 km north of Qianxian county, and about 76 km from the ancient city of Xi’an, Qianling is the joint tomb of Gaozong (Lizhi,628-683A.D.),the third emperor of the Tang dynasty and his Empress consort, Wu Zetian(624-705A.D.),the only Empress in Chinese history.
To the southeast of the Qialing Mausoleum there are seventeen satellite tombs scattered around. The importance of the people buried in these tombs can be identified by their distance from the mausoleum which reflected the hierarchy of their social status in life.
Among the tombs, two were for princes, three were for kings, four were for princesses, and eight were for ministers, Up till now, five of precious cultural relics, 1,200 square meters of mural paintings and 150square meters of linear engraved pictures were unearthed. They are valuable artifacts to study the social development of the Tang Dynasty.
History and Culture
Liangshan Hill, 1047.5 meters above sea level, is naturally constituted of lime rock with 3 peaks, of which the north peak is the highest. The two peaks in the south face each other, east to west. Hence the folks there call them＂Nipple Hills”. Seen from east to west, Liangshan hill resembles a female, lying on her back, with the northern hill as her head, two southern peaks as the breasts. It is said that the Liangshan hill is likened to be the vivid portray of Empress Wu Zetian. It is considered the best place for a female dominator to acquire achievement according to a Fengshui master in the Tang dynasty. That is why Liangshan hill was chosen by Empress Wu Zetian as the permanent resting place for her husband and herself.
The layout the grandiose Qianling mausoleum imitates Chang’an city (former name for Xi’an in the Tang Dynasty), including three parts: the palace city, the inner city and the outer city.
The inner city covers an area of 2.3 million square meters with the gates on the four sides named: Scarlet Bird Gate in the south, the Tortoise Gate in the north, the Blue Dragon Gate in the east and the White Tiger Gate in the west. The outer city runs 40 km in circumference. The Qianling Mausoleum is honored as an open-air sculpture art museum of the Tang Dynasty with over 100 large-scale, elaborate and imposing stone sculptures, such as the ornamental columns, the horses with wings, the wordless tablet and 61 stone figures of foreign envoys.
Scattered around the southeast of the main mausoleum are 17 satellite tombs, five of which have been excavated so far. Over 4,000 pieces of precious cultural relics, 1,200 square meters of mural paintings and 150square meters of linear engraved pictures were unearthed from these tombs.
With the increasing number of discoveries, more types of ceramics were unearthed in other areas, people have found that the Tang Tri-color actually contain more than three colors, including light yellow, reddish yellow, light green, dark green, etc…Because in ancient times, the numbers ‘three’ and ‘five’ represented a numerous amount, i.e. more than three or five, but the name ‘tri-color glazed pottery’ has been passed down over the centuries.
Admission fee: 40RMB/person
Opening hours: 7:00-18:00
1. Take a flight to Xi’an Airport, and then take travel bus.
2. Take direct bus to Xi’an railway station, then by taxi.