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The Origin of Ming Thirteen Tombs

 The Origin of Ming Thirteen Tombs
Ming Thirteen Tombs

The world–renowned Ming Thirteen Tomb is the mausoleum complex of 13 emperors of Ming Dynasty. From May 1409 when Chang Mausoleum was commenced construction to the burying of Emperor Chongzheng, the last emperor of Ming Dynasty, it was more than 230 years of history. There are in total 13 splendid imperial mausoleums, seven concubines mausoleum and one eunuch mausoleum. And totally, there were 13 emperors, 23 empresses, two crown princes and more than 30 concubines and one eunuch buried. It is the largest mausoleum complex with the most emperors’ tombs throughout the world.

Somebody may ask why it was called Thirteen Tombs now that there are 16 emperors in Ming Dynasty. It is essential to re-narrate the history of Ming Dynasty. The first emperor of Ming Dynasty was Zhu Yuanzhang who selected Nanking as his national center, and his mausoleum was located in Zhongshan Mountain of Nanking, which is officially respected as Ming Xiao Mausoleum. The second emperor of Ming Dynasty was Zhu Runwen. He ran away due to the Incident of Jinnan(靖难之役) launched by his uncle, Zhu Di, who later became Emperor Yong Le. Zhu Runwen died or not is still unknown, hence he did not have mausoleum. The Seventh Emperor Zhu Qiyu under the mastermind of former Emperor Yingzong’ s understrappers was killed. And Emperor Yingzong did not admit Zhu Qiyu was the emperor of Ming Dynasty, so he was buries another place, which is today’s Yuquan Mountain in west suburb of Beijing. So there are three emperors’ mausoleums in other places or unknown, and the other thirteen emperors’ mausoleums were located in Tianshou Mountain of Beijing, so it was called Ming Thirteen Mausoleums or Ming Thirteen Tombs.


Writer: David from Seeraa International
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