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Tomb of Princess Yongtai

The Tomb of Princess Yongtai is the first tomb to be excavated and remains the most impressive of all the satellite tombs in Qianling. photo of yongtai tomb
Princess Yongtai was the granddaughter of Tang Emperor Gaozong and his wife Empress Wu Zetian. In 700, she married Wu Yanji, son of Wu Chengsi, who was Wu Zetian's nephew. In 701, Princess Yongtai died in Luoyang, Henan Province, at the age of 17.The epitaph suggests that she died childbirth, but supposedly both she and her husband were poisoned by her grandmother after Yongtai revealed secrets about the older woman's affairs with two lovers. After rising to the throne, Zhongzong posthumously conferred the title of Princess Yongtai upon his daughter, and gave orders that his daughter and her husband should be buried together in the Qianling Tomb in 705 A.D. .
The Tomb of Princess Yongtai is pyramid-shaped, 87.5 meters long and 3.9 meters wide with a chamber 16.7 meters deep. In front of the tomb the road is lined with a pair of stone lions, two pairs of stone figures, and a pair of obelisks (ornamental stone columns). The tomb consists of a main passage, five doorways, six sky-lights, a paved path leading to the tomb, eight small niches, an antechamber and a burial chamber.The walls on both sides of the tomb passage are covered with murals.They represent court attendants, almost all of them women, wearing the elegant central Asian fashions of the day. The burial chamber represents the house where Princess lived.
The tomb of Princess Yongtai held more than 1,000 valuable cultural artifacts, including
murals, pottery and wooden figurines, tri-color glazed pottery figurines, gold vessels, jade articles, and copper wares. The tricolour glazed pottery figurines, which are beautifully shaped and have peculiar decorative designs, demonstrate the high artistic level of the Tang Dynasty ceramic industry. The antechamber represents a drawing room with murals mainly depicting elegantly dressed women attendants.With different articles in their hands, they carry themselves with grace and wear different expressions from one another. They look as if they are on the way to serve Princess Yongtai. On the ceiling of the chamber are painted celestial figures. There is a triple-leg rooster symbolizing the sun, a Jade Hare representing the moon, with the Milky Way in between. The mural reflects the highly developed astronomy at that time.
The stone coffins of Princess Yongtai and her husband are in the rear chamber. The coffins had an outer one and an inner one. The outer coffin was carved with exquisite pictures on both sides.The inner wooden coffin had completely rotted away due to its long-time saturation in silt.


Photo of Yongtai Tomb
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