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Ming Xian Ling Mausoleum

Ming Xian Ling Mausoleum is located on the Chunde Hill 5 kilometers to the northeast of Zhongxiang City, Hubei Province, which is the tomb of the Ming Shizong Emperor Jiajing's father Gongruixian Emperor Zhu Youyuan and Jiajing Emperor's mother Zhangsheng empress dowager.

It was announced by the State Council to be the Important Heritage Site Under State Protection in January 1988, and was approved by the UNESCO to be included in the World Heritage List on 30th November 2000.

The construction of Xian Ling cost 40 years, started in the 14th year of the reign of Zhengde Emperor (1519) and finished in the 38th year of the reign of Jiajing Emperor (1559).

The overall area of the Tomb is 183.15 ha while the additional defensive walls outside the city walls are 3,600 meters in length. The Tomb was built in the form of two closed cities with over 30 magnificent building compounds, which are in perfect relation with the surrounding mountains and lakes.

The tomb park is marvelous and magnificent for red walls and yellow bricks, and it winds among the hills, partly hidden and partly visible, and built along the landmass of the hill are Chundeshan Tablet, Chiyu Tablet, Waiming Pool, Xiama Tablet, Xinhong Gate, Jiuhong Gate, Yubei Mansion, Wang Pillar, Shixiangsheng, Lengxing Gate, Jiuqu Imperial River, Neiming Pool, Ling’en Gate, Lingqin Gate, Shuangzhu Gate, Fang Fortress, Ming Mansion, The Front and Back Treasury Fortress and other sites. The buildings are well plotted with a great layout, to make a “god-made” effect among the hills and waters. This is no doubt a masterpiece that combines the art of architecture and the environmental aesthetics.

Xian Ling is the result of “Da Li Yi”, a major historic event in the early reign of Jiajing Emperor. Its layout and construction methods are very unique to play an interim role in the emperor tomb regulations of Ming Dynasty. There are many construction crafts among the Xian Ling buildings which are seen only in Xian Ling buildings throughout all the tomb buildings of Ming Dynasty, such as Wailuo fortress, Jiuqu Imperial River, Longlin Shendao, Qionghua Shuanglong Liuli Ying Wall and Nei Wai Ming Pools, especially the “two tombs within one tomb park” which is seen nowhere else but Xian Ling. The two dumbbell-shaped hidden underground tombs are connected by Yaotai, which carry with them endless mysteries and matchless glamour.

(Source: hbwh.gov.cn)