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Tomb of Princess Yongtai

Tomb of Princess Yongtai, Xi'an

The Tomb of Princess Yongtai, located north of Qin Count, a satellite tomb of Qinling, is the first tomb to be excavated and remains the most impressive of all the satellite tombs in Qianling.

Princess Yongtai
Princess Yongtai, courtesy name Nonghui (??), was a princess of the Tang Dynasty. 

In 700, she married Wu Yanji, son of Wu Chengsi, who was Wu Zetian's nephew. 

In 701, Princess Yongtai died in Luoyang, Henan Province, at the age of 17. 

The epitaph says that she died childbirth, but supposedly both she and her husband were poisoned by her grandmother after Yongtai revealed secrets about the older woman's affairs with two lovers. After rising to the throne, Zhongzong posthumously conferred the title of Princess Yongtai upon his daughter, and gave orders that his daughter and her husband should be buried together in the Qianling Tomb in 705 A.D.

Tomb of Princess Yongtai
The tomb was discovered in 1960, and excavated from 1964. Among the Qianling Mausoleum burials, Li's is the largest belonging to a woman. It had been robbed in the past, probably soon after the burial, and items in precious materials taken, but the thieves had not bothered with the over 800 pottery tomb figures, and the extensive frescoes were untouched. The robbers had left in a hurry, leaving silver items scattered around, and the corpse of one of their number. 

The tomb had a flattened pyramid rising 12 metres above ground, and a long sloping entrance tunnel lined with frescoes, leading to an ante-chamber and the tomb chamber itself, 12 metres below ground level with a high domed roof. Most of the contents, including the frescoes, are now in the Shaanxi History Museum.

Yongtai_Tomb_1.jpg    Yongtai_Tomb_2.jpg

The Frescoes
The frescoes depicted the four deities, ceremonial weaponry, daily life in the imperial court, and celestial bodies. The tomb also provides an example of Tang dynasty architecture, with depictions of buildings and caisson motifs. The main subject of the frescoes is women, the majority of whom are shown without make-up and wearing no jewellery. There are also several carved human figures, who seem to be ladies-in-waiting.

The tomb of Princess Yongtai held more than 1,000 valuable cultural artifacts, including murals, pottery and wooden figurines, tri-color glazed pottery figurines, gold vessels, jade articles, and copper wares. The tri-color glazed pottery figurines, which are beautifully shaped and have peculiar decorative designs, demonstrate the high artistic level of the Tang Dynasty ceramic industry. 

The antechamber represents a drawing room with murals mainly depicting elegantly dressed women attendants. With different articles in their hands, they carry themselves with grace and wear different expressions from one another. They look as if they are on the way to serve Princess Yongtai. 

On the ceiling of the chamber are painted celestial figures. There is a triple-leg rooster symbolizing the sun, a Jade Hare representing the moon, with the Milky Way in between. The mural reflects the highly developed astronomy at that time.


How to get to The Tomb of Princess Yongtai
1. From Xi'an Railway Train Station
    Take Tourist Bus No.3 and you will reach there
2. From Xi'an West Bus Station
    Take long distance bus from Xi'an to Qianxian and take a taxi to there


Admission Fee: CNY 122 (including Qianling Mausoleum)
Opening Time: 8:00-18:00
Time for Visit: 1 hour
Location: Qianling, Shaanxi

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