Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum
is located in the eastern suburb of Lintong County, 35 kilometers
east of Xi’an on the Lishan Mountain in the south and overlooking
the Wei River towards north. The lay of the land from Lishan to
Mount Hua is shaped dragon-like according to traditional Chinese
geomancy. The imperial tomb is at the eye of the dragon. Qin Shi
Huang (259 BC - 210 BC) was the first emperor of China. He ascended
the throne at the age of 13 and unified China in 221BC. After he
ascended the throne he start to build his tomb. All together 37
years were spent on the tomb construction. He passed away in Shaqiu
(today in Hebei Province) when he had the inspection tour in 210BC.
Later he was buried in his tomb.
Emperor Qinshihuang’s tomb looks like a large pyramid shaped mound.
The bottom of the tumulus is roughly square and the top is flat
and spacious. The tomb mound was 115 meters high originally. It
was 485 meters from east to west and 515 meters from north to south.
But during the last 2000 years it was eroded by rain to the height
of 76 meters. The base also becomes smaller. Now the size is 345
meters wide and 350 meters long. The burial chamber is underneath
which is surrounded by clay walls. The center of the chamber is
30 meters lower than the ground level. According to Historical Records
by famous historian Sima Qian, the burial chamber was filled with
rare treasures. Its interior decorations included images of the
sun, the moon and the constellations on the ceiling, on the floor,
rivers and sea of mercury were made. Lamps of whale oil were lit
for eternal light. Automatic mechanized crossbows were installed
to keep the tomb robbers. It is hard to say whether it was true
or not because the tomb was not opened. However, according to the
recent test it indicates that mercury really existed at the center
of the burial chamber with the area of 12,000 square meters. According
to the archeological findings, the tomb was surrounded by inner
and outer walls with gates and watch towers. On the ground there
are a lot of big palatial buildings.
In an area of 56 kilometers around Emperor Qinshihaung’s
tomb a lot of Qin bricks and tiles, engraved with decorative patterns
were found. A lot of accompany tombs for the Emperor and pits buried
with rare animals, clay figurines, clay horses and bronze chariots
and other sacrificial articles were also found.
It was the strong belief among the ancient Chinese that there was
life in the nether world. The dead should be treated as the alive.
Emperor Qinshihang was the supreme ruler. So his tomb was like the
real palace. He had imitations made of everything he had in his
real life. The underground world was to be the replica of his empire
he had ruled. The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses mirrored the Emperor’s
life and his ambition. He commanded his army to unify China when
he was alive. He still had the army to ward off his mausoleum. Emperor
Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum is not excavated until today because the
present technology cannot protect the burial articles. We are looking
forward to see the day when it is opened thoroughly.
Other attractions in Xi'an