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A life lived among tombs memorialized

2014-12-24 08:59:05

(China Daily) By Xing Yi


Feng Qili spent his life studying those of the dead.

Specifically, he devoted himself to researching Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) tombs.

The 65-year-old self-taught expert on Manchu ethnic studies died on Nov 24, about five months after the publication of his latest book, Visiting Tombs of the Qing Dynasty in Beijing's Suburbs.

The books features 146 visits to Qing tombs belonging to royal families, prestigious officials and generals, and detailed information about the tombs' occupants.

"Feng was ethnically Han but was the first person to systematically study the Qing's Manchu imperial tombs," Beijing History Geography and Folklore Society secretary and Feng's friend of 30 years Chang Hua says.

"He's highly respected by the Aisin Gioro families, whose forebearers founded the empire."

Feng was born in Beijing in 1949 and worked at a refrigerator factory after high school.

He never attended university but devoted himself to higher learning.

He became an informal student of cultural scholar and historian Zheng Gongdun in 1978 and began to research the Qing era. He was drawn to the Qing tombs, which nobody had studied.

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