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Qianling Museum

Updated: 2008-01-18 18:00:39

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The Qianling Museum is a Chinese museum of mausoleums. Built in 1978, the museum is situated around the site of Qianling (Qian Mausoleum). Qianling is located in Qian County of Shaan'xi Province. It is the joint mausoleum of Tang (618-907) Emperor Gaozong (Li Zhi) and his consort, Empress Wu Zetian, the only Empress in Chinese history.

The mausoleum is large in scale with 17 satellite tombs of princes, kings and high ministers. In the mausoleum there are some exquisite carvings of the Tang Dynasty. From south to north, there first come two ornamental columns, two winged horses galloping and then two red birds (Carpodacus erythrinus roseatas). Five pairs of saddled horses come next, each with a groom. The most noteworthy are ten pairs of guardian generals, with very large heads, wearing long-sleeved robes and hold the hilts of long swords.

Since 1960, five satellite tombs including the Tomb of Crown Prince Zhanghuai, the Tomb of Crown Prince Yide and the Tomb of Princess Yongtai have been excavated, and numerous murals, tri-colored glazed potteries and stone carvings have been unearthed from these tombs. These unearthed cultural relics reflect the production and life styles as well as the economic, political, military and cultural development of the Tang Dynasty.

The museum boasts about 9,000 cultural relics, of which more than 4,000 were unearthed from the five tombs and the other 4,000 were collected through public channels. Among the 27 first-class relics, a bronze mirror, with 4.25 kilograms in weight and engraved with dragon and phoenix, is the most eye-catching.

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