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Mausoleum Plan

Tombs of the Warring States Period (475-221BC) can be represented by the Zhongshan Imperial Mausoleum unearthed in Pingshan, Hebei Province. It belongs to the middle period of the Warring States era. Although it is an incomplete tomb, from the piece of copper plate unearthed from the tomb carved with the layout of the mausoleum, we still can see the original planning intention. 

Its restored original shape and structure are encircled by two rings of horizontal rectangular walls. Inside is a horizontal rectangular earth platform, stretching more than 310 meters from east to west, and about five meters high. On the platform are five royal family houses respectively for worshipping the king, two queens and two wives. The three houses in the middle are the houses of the king and two queens, their plane being 52 x 52 (meters) respectively; the two houses on the left and right sides for the wives are smaller and their position retreat somewhat to the back. The five royal houses are three-storied dais structures with a rammed earth platform. Below the house in the middle is a platform some one meter high. The structure is the highest, standing more than 20 meters. 

The whole group of structures is magnificent, even and symmetrical. The highest imperial hall on the axial line is the construction center; the back hall and the houses for the wives are lower in order, so that the center becomes more prominent and the primary and secondary parts more evident. As mentioned before, the introverted layout of a courtyard type is mostly used for a complex of Chinese buildings. There are, however, also structures with a strong extroverted character. 

Although the Zhongshan Imperial Mausoleum is encircled by walls, the dais structures within tower above them on all four sides, making the extroverted character very evident. The earth-covered platform raises the height of the complex of buildings, so that the imperial mausoleum can be seen from afar, this being suited to the environment of open field, and giving it a strong memorial character. This represents a fine artistic design that combines structure with environment.

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