The Han Yang Ling Mausoleum is located by the side of old airport highway in Xi'an, about 20 kilometers to the north of Xi'an. It was built in the Western Han Dynasty (206BC -220AD) for the notable fifth Han emperor Liu Qi who ruled China for 17 years. The whole complex is a joint tomb of Liu Qi himself and his empress, Empress Wang. It was built in the year 153 AD and covers an area of 20 square kilometers (4,942 acres). Recent excavation proves that it is not simply a mausoleum, but also a huge treasure house of magnificent and abundant cultural relics, comprising the emperor's tomb, empress' tomb, the south and north burial chambers, ceremonial site, human sacrifice remains and criminals' cemetery. The mausoleum is neatly arranged, centered with the emperor's tomb, revealing the strict hierarchical social structure. The Exhibition Hall built under the actual tomb chamber was opened in 2006 and is the first underground museum in China. This museum can be visited en route to the airport on our Xian Day Tours.
In the center of the whole burial complex is the emperor's mausoleum. The subterranean chamber has passages on its four sides, thus the shape assembles the Chinese character 'Ya' which literally meaning happiness in ancient Chinese scripts. This type of tomb structure was considered the best and the highest in ancient times. There is a magnificent hall around each side of emperor's tomb with four big gates at the middle of each wall. The south gate has been unearthed and opened for visitors. The brick chessboard and the biggest tile have been found at this site.
There are 86 burial pits full of treasures and objects. These pits vary in size and the length of them ranges from four meter (13 feet) to over 100 meters (328 feet). In the late 1990s, archaeologists excavated ten of the burial pits and found that they were made to be enclosed space, like wooden cases. From the vestiges, those pits are believed to have original column frames, partitions, doors and brick floor. Unearthed burial objects include naked pottery figurines, chariots and horses, weapons, articles of everyday use and a large number of pottery animals.
The empress' tomb is in the east, 450 meters (1,476 feet) away from the emperor's tomb and is much smaller in the size of the burial mound. It is 350 meters (1148 feet) in length of square shape. A wall made of pounded earth encircles the tomb, with four gates on each side. The underground chamber is also laid out like the Chinese character 'ya'. The earth on top of the tomb measures 24.49 meters (80 feet). 31 burial pits have been found around it with various cultural relics.
South and North Burial Pits
There are burial pits found to the southeast and northwest of the emperor's mausoleum. Both of them have twenty-four small pits of different sizes, and occupy an area of 96,000 square meters (24 acres) respectively. Fourteen pits in the south burial location were discovered in the 1990s. The excavated articles amount to over 30,000, the number of which surpasses the Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses. Articles include the painted pottery figures, miniature weapons ( bronze & iron) and utensils, which fully represent the army life in the Han Dynasty.
Compared with the Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, the pottery figures here in the Han Yang Ling are one tenth of the actual objects and vary from the warrior to civilian, male to female. Some of them are sculptures of valiant female warriors, gentle and elegant servants, singers or dancers in traditional dress with their long sleeves waving. Naked and armless pottery figures are so vivid and lifelike, claiming to be the 'Oriental Apollo and Venus'. According to the archaeologists, the naked figures had clothes on and wooden arms which had decayed and fallen off over years.
Luo Jing Stone Site (Ancestral Temple Site)
The ruins of the royal ancestral temple was found to southeast of the emperor's tomb. It is an important and the largest discovered ceremonial site of the royal cemetery. The ruin were enclosed by moats and are almost square, and is 260 meters (853 feet) in length. A platform made of rammed earth stands in the center. The huge Luo Jing Stone here is presumed to be used to demarcate and measure the height when the mausoleum was built. It is the earliest mark stone in the world, which is used in measuring. It has twelve doors evenly distributed on four sides.
Burial Pits Exhibition Hall
This underground museum covers an area of about 7,850 square meters (2 acres). It has been modernized to display ten outside pits surrounding the emperor's tomb but does not devalue the look of the mausoleum. To protect the culture relic, the pits are encased with toughened glass to create the similar environment as it was before. Suspended corridors made of glass make it more convenient for visitors to be able to take a closer look. Through the glass on the right, on the left or under foot, visitors can see pottery warriors, animals, chariots and horses, and the archaeologists excavating over the spot. A kind of imaging technique concerning with optical illusion has been applied in the museum. Through the illusive characters and scenes, the life of emperor Liu Qi, the anecdote of Empress Wang and the archaeological discoveries in the mausoleum are presented.
Apart from the pottery figurines, and daily utensils, there were remains of grains, bones of rare animals, remains of stacked silk & satin fabrics...etc found as well. They were arranged in different burial pits. According to experts, each burial chamber represents the certain different department and offices serving the emperor.
Through studies of the Han Yang Ling Mausoleum and the relative archaeological vestiges as well as the historical documents, it can be concluded that the Western Han Empire (with the capital in Xi'an) was the building model of the emperor Liu Qi's tomb. In other words, this tomb was just built in simulation of the Western Han Empire. As the other imperial mausoleums of the Western Han were all constructed after the style of the Han Yang Ling, they must have been identical with, or similar to the Yang Ling Mausoleum in construction concept. It should be emphasized, however, that such design was an approximate simulation in a conceptual, ideal manner rather than a mechanical reproduction in the real sense. The representation and symbolization of the real society by the component parts of the tomb are also in an ideal conception.
The entrance fee is 90 Yuan / each.
Visitors usually come to this museum on the way from / to airport when they are on our Xian Tours to see the Qin Terra Cotta Warriors & Horses.