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Maoling Mausoleum


Location: Xianyang (neighboring Xi’an)
Host: Emperor Wudi of Han

Maoling Mausoleum is the tomb of Emperor Wudi (r. 141~87 BC) of Han, one of the most successful emperors of Imperial China whose reign brought the Han China to its prime.


Construction of the Mausoleum started in the third year after the Emperor acceded to the throne and went on for 53 years. According to records, one-third of the Han Empire’s annual tax/tribute revenue went to this grand project. The Mausoleum as we see today appears magnificently tall and grand in the shape of a huge flat-topped pyramid. Stretching for dozens of miles, the Mausoleum is the biggest of Han Dynasty mausoleums, and no Chinese mausoleum other than that of Emperor Qin-Shi-Huang is on a par with it.

To protect the Mausoleum, the Han Empire set up a whole county around the location of the Mausoleum, populated by high officials, their kiths and kinsmen, and rich merchants, who migrated here upon imperial decree.

As is the practice with most royal mausoleums, the Emperor’s tomb is surrounded by a number of “satellite” tombs, where some of the Emperor’s favorite generals, ministers and royal relatives were buried after death – a paramount honor. To preserve and display the cultural relics unearthed at the Mausoleum, a Maoling Mausoleum Museum has been built based on the tomb site of Huo Qubing, one of the Emperor’s most brilliant generals, His tomb is shaped after Mountain Qilianshan to commemorate his strategic military victories there.

Fourteen “State-Level Cultural Relics of China” are being preserved in the Maoling Mausoleum Museum, some of which are displayed below.

Stone sculpture: a war horse tramping on a Hun soldier. A group of stone sculptures were erected in front of Huo Qubing's tomb in memory of his military accomplishments against the Huns.

A water-leaking time-meter, that measures the elapsed time by observing level of the left water  in the container.

Bronze rhinoceros

Gold gilt bronze horse

Gold gilt bamboo-shaped incense burner

Other pottery/bronze wares excavated at Maoling Mausoleum



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