Discovered in 1974, the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, the first emperor to unite China, is at the foot of Lishan Mountain and to the east of Lin Tong County, just over 30 kilometers away from Xi’an, Shaanxi Province. To the north of the gigantic mausoleum enshrouded by shady trees flows the winding Wei River. The mausoleum grounds cover 56.25 km2, an area 78 times the size of the Forbidden City! The original height of the grave mound was 115 meters, though it currently measures only 76. There are two layers of city wall, measuring 8 to 10 meters tall, around the mausoleum. The inner city wall is 3,840 meters long while the exterior city wall is 6,210 meters long. The grave area is located in the southern part the mausoleum while the residential and bedroom palaces are in the northern part. According to historical records, Ying Zheng (the First Qin Emperor) began to build the mausoleum when he came into power at the age of 13. Li Si, one of the emperor’s ministers, was responsible for the program and design. Zhang Han, the senior general, was the main supervisor. 38 years were devoted to this project of unprecedented vastness. The First Qin Emperor died in 210 BC and was buried in the middle of the mausoleum. Around his grave there are hundreds of thousands of terracotta figures in different forms and appearances. The accompanying war horses, chariots, and weapons enhance the historical value of this incredibly realistic artwork. On January 29th, 1974 a local farmer accidentally dug out a head of a terracotta figure some 1.5 km far away from the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor. It was later identified by relevant government organizations, and so the world-renowned Terracotta Warriors began to come into public view.

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor Attractions:

Underground Palace of the First Qin Emperor

Historical Park of the First Qin Emperor

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor Story:

1.    How deep is the Underground Palace of the First Qin Emperor?

According to the latest archaeological exploration, the Underground Palace is 260 meters long and 160 meters wide, covering a total area of 41,600 m2. During the Qin and Han dynasties, the Underground Palace of the First Qin Emperor was at its largest with a size equal to five football fields. The grave is vertical and extremely deep, an unusual fact that piqued the interest of Samuel Chao Chung Ting, a famous Chinese physicist. Ting calculated the depth of the underground palace to be 500 to 1,500 meters deep by means of modern technology. However, the figure was not accurate because the distance between the top of the Underground Palace and the river floor couldn’t possibly exceed 1,000 meters, the reason being that the Palace needs to be near the river to drain off water. After years of studying, scientists finally concluded that the difference between current land elevation and that of the Qin Dynasty is 37 meters.

2.   Treasures in the Underground Palace of the First Qin Emperor

Sima Qian, the writer of Historical Records, once said a great number of treasures were placed in the Underground Palace of the First Qin Emperor. Liu Xiang, an ancient scholar, was of similar belief. Near the end of 1980s some archeologists found a giant yet delicate cast of a bronze chariot being pulled by a colored warhorse. Before that, archeologists had found a wooden chariot and warhorse decorated in gold, silver and bronze. If treasures are everywhere around the outside of the palace, it’s not hard to imagine how many more there are inside.

3.    Body of the First Qin Emperor

The discovery of Mawansdui Han Tomb in Changsha, Hunan Province shocked the world in the 1970s by revealing an ancient, well-preserved Chinese body. Due partly to this, researchers have clung to the hope that the body of the First Qin Emperor could also still be in good condition. Technically speaking, if the female corpse from the West Han Dynasty (less than a century after the Qin Dynasty) could be perfectly preserved, then the aseptic-techniques of the Qin Dynasty might have been advanced enough to preserve a corpse as well. The problem lies in the fact that the First Qin Emperor died on a tour of the country on a hot summer day. Soon afterwards, the corpse began to emit a foul smell, inducing Zhao Gao and Hu Hai, both the Emperor’s ministers, to have their men cover the corpse with abalone. Over 50 days later, the body was finally conveyed back to the city of Xianyang. Unfortunately, techniques of the time necessitated the mummification process to be begun immediately after death, so the famous emperor’s body is most likely far from intact today.

Jack Li

1 Response » to “Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor”

  1. Emily says:

    How long do we need to spend at the Mausoleum of the First in Emperor to get a look there?? thanx

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