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Sacred Road of The Ming Tombs

 

Sacred Road(神路) is the first tourist attraction of The Ming Tombs.It is comprised of dolmen(Archway-style gate), Bei lou, Dahong Gate (Grand Red Gate),Stone statuary and Dragon-Phoenix Gate.

sacred road, Ming tomb, Beijing, China

Sacred Road of Ming Thirteen Tombs  in winter

 

Dolmen(Stone Paifang) is Chinese largest stone-made Paifang, a little bit like stone archway at present in China. It has five rooms, six columns and eleven towers. Dahong Gate (Grand Red Gate) made in the demand of Palace Gate. Each side has one horse stele respectively, carved with characters"官员人等至此下马(officials and others must dismount here)"to show the supremacy of emperors. 
In Pavilion of Holy Virtue and Divine Merit in Chang Tomb, there is a stele erected with the carving of dragons and tortoise. It is 8.1 meter tall. The stele is recorded the inscriptions of Zhu Gaozhi who was the Emperor Renzong of Ming Dynasty, in total 3000 Chinese characters or so. On the other side, there was the inscription of poem made by Emperor Gaozong of Qing Dynasty. On the east side, it was carved with the royal poem created by Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty. On the west side, it was recorded the royal article created by Emperor Renzong of Qing Dynasty.

Dolmen(stone Paifang)

Dahong Gate( Grand Red Gate)

 

 

Surround around Stele PavilioN, there are four Huabiao(a holy column both for ornament and expression of supremacy, easily available to be seen near the Tiananmen Square) made in white marble,a kind of treasured and exclusive stone used in palace. On each Huabiao, there are in total 41 dragon sculptures. On top of Huabiao, there is a monster, which faces different directions (facing south means hope for Emperor's exit and facing north means hope for Emperor's return).

sacred road, Ming tomb, Beijing, China

Stone statuary

Dragon-Phoenix Gate


At the north side of Stele Pavilion,there are a lot of stone creature statues called 石像生 which is a statue of human being or animals. Staring from the stele pavilion till Dragon-Phoenix Gate, there are 24 stone animals and 12 stone people on the two sides of the sacred road which are vivid and well-carved.  Two pairs of standing lions and Xiezhi(an animal with one horn in legend) are guarders for protecting tombs. Chinese Dragon stands for auspiciousness and horses can be good vehicles; while two pairs of lying camels and standing elephants are the representative of honesty and kindness.There are a lot of definitions and regulations shown in the layout. It indeed shows the complicated and profound Chinese culture and tradition. 

 

 

 

 

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