china edition


Xian - Tomb of Prince Zhanghuai

Shaanxi - Xian - Yan'an

The Tomb of Crown Prince Zhanghuai lies 3 kilometer to the southeast of the Qianling Tomb. It is one of the 17 satellite tombs of the Qianling Mausoleum.

Prince Zhanghuai, Li Xian, was the second son of Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu Zetian. Gaozong was fond of him and made him the crowned prince. Li Xian once summoned famous scholars to annotate The Historical Records of the Later Han dynasty. The book referred to the historical fact that Lu Hou, wife of Emperor Gaozu, founder of the Han dynasty, pushed out many courtiers and usurped the supreme power of the country after her husband's death. Wu Zetian thought that Li Xian was attacking her by insinuations and compared to Lu Hou. Later she discovered weapons hidden in the Easter Palace where Li Xian lived. She deprived him of the title of crown prince and exiled him to Bazhou. In 648 AD, Li Xian died mysteriously in Bazhou at the age of 31. Many people believed that he was murdered by Wu Zetian. After Emperor Zhongzong returned to the throne, he had Li Xian's remains buried near Qianling.

Similar to the Tomb of Princess Yongtai, the Tomb of Prince Zhanghuai also has tunnels, tomb chambers, and a collection of buried articles, only a bit smaller in scale.The tomb consists of a long, sloping tomb passage, 4 sky-lights, 4 passages, 6 niches, a brick corridor, an antechamber and a burial chamber. The tomb passage is 71 meter long, 3.3 meter wide and 7 meter high.

There were over 600 articles unearthed including ceramic figurines, tricolour ceramic figurines, some objects for daily use and other burial articles. There are more than 50 murals in the tomb, which have remained basically intact. On the western wall of the tomb passage there are over 20 figures on horseback depicted in the painting Polo Game. On the eastern wall in the middle of the tomb passage is the painting of Courtiers and Foreign Envoys and in the middle of the tomb passage is the painting of Watching Birds and Catching Cicadas. These murals demonstrate the superb artistic achievements of the Tang dynasty.