Wednesday, June 4, 2008

China Day 05: The Changling Tomb

Our last - VERY last - stop of the day was the Changling tomb, in which the Yongle Emperor is buried. (These guys had personal names, but to the public they were known by reign names like 'the Wanli emperor', 'the Yongle emperor', etc.) The tomb itself has actually never been excavated, but several of the buildings are now open to the public.

The architecture is much like that of the Forbidden City (which makes sense, since they were built in the same era):
This is a funerary oven, made of yellow ceramic brick, which was used to burn offerings (paper money, etc.) for the dead Emperor:
and this is the Hall of Eminent Favor, the main building of the tomb:
This hall is now a museum for various artifacts excavated from other tombs (remember, this one is still closed) and also for reproductions of Ming-era artifacts. We had just enough time to peruse them.

My favorites among the exhibits were the crowns. Chinese crowns bear no resemblance to Western royal headgear. They tend to be constructed of other things than solid metal, for one, which must have been a relief to the imperial foreheads. This one:
is constructed of beaded, stiffened black silk, and this one:
looks like a mortarboard with a 1960s-era beaded door hanging attached.

Here is one of metal, but it's a delicate filigree:
and this one, I think, is designed for a woman:
Sorry about the focus issues in these photos; my camera doesn't focus very well in low light.

There were also some arms and armor:
The largest single object was this:
It's a huge piece of silk fabric in Imperial yellow, that is designed to make a set of robes for the Emperor. The parts of the fabric that will be cut out into pattern pieces have been pre-embroidered (encrusted is a more accurate word) and are ready to be cut and sewn.

Here is a statue of the Yongle Emperor himself:
He looks sweet-tempered, don't you think?

After looking at the pretty things, we went back outside. Dad decided he had time to take in one more attraction:

While I was waiting for him, I admired a tiny fluffy dog:

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