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Mausoleums of Song Dynasty

The Imperial Mausoleums of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1279) are located at the piedmont of Wangling Mountain on the two banks of the Wuluo River in Gongxian County of Henan Province.

The mausoleum is 15 km long from south to north, and 10 km wide from east to west. Except the Emperor Huizong and Emperor Qinzong who were forayed by the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) and died in the northern desert, the other seven emperors of the nine emperors in the Northern Song Dynasty were all buried here. In the first year (963) of the Qiande reign, the grave of the father of Zhao Kuangyin, who was the first emperor of the Song Dynasty, was moved here. There were seven emperors and eight mausoleums, which are the Yong'an Mausoleum of Emperor Xuanzu, the Yongchang Mausoleum of Emperor Taizu, the Yongxi Mausoleum of Emperor Taizong, the Yongding Mausoleum of Emperor Zhenzong, the Yongzhao Mausoleum of Emperor Renzong, the Yonghou Mausoleum of Emperor Yingzong, the Yongyu Mausoleum of Emperor Shenzong and the Yongtai Mausoleum of Emperor Zhezong. Empresses and imperial concubines were buried around each emperor's mausoleum, amounting to more than 20 people. There were more than 100 people buried with the emperor, and they were maharajas and ministers, including Kou Zhun and Bao Zheng.

In 1918, a Japanese archaeologist investigated these mausoleums, but released a research report with many mistakes. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Chinese archaeologists perambulated the Song Mausoleums many times. They generally found out the distribution and the principle of the mausoleums. The concept and consciousness of the Song Mausoleums are different from the mausoleums of the Han and Tang Dynasties: the latter either occupy a commanding height or face a water and lean against a mountain , while the former face Songshan Mountain with the Luohe River running through the back part. The mausoleums are low-lying, which is against the tradition of ancient architecture that the building is heightened step by step, and the principal building is set on the supreme position. This form of architecture has much to do with the doctrine that decides the tomb site by geomantic omen. The organization and layout of all the mausoleums are basically the same, each covering an area of 120 mu (15 mu = 1 hectare). The mausoleums are surrounded by walls built of rammed earth. Divine gates are opened in the center of the four walls, and turrets are built in the four corners. In the center of the mausoleum is the mausoleum stage, which is built with rammed earth, and in the shape of overturned dou (a kind of measuring instrument). On the south of the stage, two statues of palace servants are placed. Both sides of the divine path outside of the southern divine gate are lined with such stone statues as civilian officials, military generals, soldiers in charge of pack animals, as well as beasts. The model of the stone statues is simple and powerful, bold and unconstraint, reflecting the artistic style of stone carving in the Northern Song Dynasty. 

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