Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ming Tombs

The third and final day of our excursions in Beijing took us to the Ming Tombs and the Great Wall of China.  The tombs are a large complex of many tombs in one area.  The main tomb is Emperor Yongle's Tomb located centrally in the complex.  He was the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty in the early 1400's.DSC_0015

Inside the main structure was a museum that contained replicas of many of the items found in the tomb.  The centerpiece of the museum was a large statue of the emperor sitting on his throne.  


The back of the statue had the dragon, which represents the emperor.


On the centerline from the gate to the tombs and mausoleum is the Gate on the Threshold of Stars.  Only the emperor could pass through this gate towards the mausoleum, and then only after he has died.  It is considered the threshold from one realm (the world) to another (heaven).  However, passing through it on the way back (by the living) is considered to bring good luck.


Many of the trees at the tombs are over 300 years old.  This tree is the oldest tree on the site, and now needs to be supported to keep it up.


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