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Imperial Tombs of Western Xia

(People's Daily Online)

08:04, May 10, 2012


Edited and translated by Huang Beibei, People's Daily Online

The pyramids in Egypt have always been regarded as a mystery of ancient human civilization. Another mysterious ancient construction that resembles the refulgence has been found in China. Dubbed the "Pyramids of China", the Western Xia Tombs include nine mausoleums housing the imperial family and 207 tombs belonging to dukes and ministers.

In recent years, scientific research and exploration have been conducted at the site, buried in the wilderness of Helan Mountain in West China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, in hopes of decoding the sudden disappearance of the Western Xia civilization.

Located 30 kilometers west of Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the Western Xia Tombs cover an area of 40 square kilometers; they are located on the eastern slope of the Helan Mountain range, just south of the Gunzhong Pass.

The tombs were originally created by the founder of the Western Xia Kingdom (AD1038-1237), Li Yuanhao, who built over 70 tombs -- one for himself, some for his relatives and more to be left empty, presumably against theft.

Each main tomb has four corner towers and an array of watchtowers, pavilions housing stone tablets, a sacrificial hall and a coffin platform -- most of which are unrecognizable. Archaeologists believe that octagonal glazed-tile pagodas once stood by each tomb.

In contrast to the wooden and stone structures of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasty imperial tombs, the Western Xia Tombs are made of earth and brick, reflecting the culture of the ancient western kingdom.

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Anon at 2012-05-14124.82.41.*
China"s unified territory only reached Imperial level size after the Qin was formed. Even during the 7 Kingdoms Era (that Emperor Ying I united) only featured Royal Tombs. All pre-Qin or ealier era tombs (like Western Xia) were on kingdom sized territories and thus should be designated "Royal" rather than Imperial. In fact even weaker "dynasties" of the later era should not be considered for inclusion under "Imperial" status as well for example Liao or Jin ROYAL Dynasties. The Chinese should know the difference between Di (Imperial) and Wang (Royal) can the difference can hardly be ignored.
numamandla at 2012-05-11124.210.129.*
All the shots of picutres are taken from long distance, which hardly tells us the size. Is it prohibited to take a close shot of the remnants or tombs?

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