Expansion Project of Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties: King Lujian’s Tombs

Date of Submission: 28/03/2008
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
State Administration of Cultural Heritage
State, Province or Region:
Xinxiang City, Henan Province
Ref.: 5351
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Description

As recorded in King Lujian's Mausoleum Constructed by Imperial Orders, the king's tomb was completed in the eighth month of the 43rd year of Wanli's reign in the Ming Dynasty (1615), from which it could be inferred that the second wife's tomb was built in the 30th year of Wanli's reign (1602). The mausoleum was well protected by military and civil officials from its completion to the fall of the Ming Dynasty in 1644. It continued to be protected in the early Qing Dynasty, after the government issued orders to protect the mansions of the kings of Zheng, Lu and Zhao in the third year of Shunzhi's reign (1646). It was regularly renovated after the structures and the land of the mausoleum were sold to Monk Zhenxi from Mount Wutaishan in the 13th year of Shunzhi's reign (1656), who used the structures as monks' dormitory and prayer halls. From the end of the Qing Dynasty (1911) to 1949, when the People's Republic of China was newly founded, the structures were protected by the people who had moved inside the city walls to live, but some of them were destroyed in the wartime. The mausoleum was closed to the public when North Henan Penitentiary was moved inside the two city walls in 1953. In 1978, when the penitentiary and local residents had moved out of the complex of King Lujian's Mausoleum, the local government set up an office for managing its cultural relics under the Cultural Administration of Xinxiang City, started to repair King Lujian's Mausoleum and the soul path, and opened the mausoleum to the public. The mausoleum was upgraded to be a museum in 1997, a section-level institution under Fengquan District. King Lujian's Mausoleum was listed as key protected historic site at provincial level in 1986 and at national level in 1996. It was included in the tentative list of Chinese world heritage in 2006. After North Henan Penitentiary moved out of the tomb of the second wife in December 2005, the entire structure-covered area was transferred to the Museum of King Lujian's Mausoleum.

The natural surroundings of King Lujian's Mausoleum mainly consist of Fenghuang Hill in the north, Changling Hill and Hutou Hill in the east and west, and the water system of Heilongtan pool in the south. Fenghuang Hill had suffered certain environmental damage due to mining before 1999, but the local government completely banned mining there and seriously started to restore and improve the environment in 2000. The water system of Heilongtan pool, which has dried up because of the change of climate and water level, has been restored by the national project to divert water from the south to the north. The surroundings and topography remain largely intact.

The protective institution for King Lujian's Mausoleum has been constantly protecting and repairing the architectural complex and has recorded such efforts. In the plan for protection reformulated in 2007, the range of protection covers an area of 57.68 hectares, extending 52 meters west to Cunxi Road, 273 north to Lingbei Road, 142 meters east to Fengling Road, and 254 meters south to Liangquan Road. The buffer zone includes Fenghuang Hill, Hutou Hill, Changling Hill and Heilongtan pool, and areas stretching 100 meters outward. The small quarries, cement factories and other polluting companies were all closed and demolished in 2000. The municipal government of Xinxiang twice issued regulations on managing King Lujian's Mausoleum, and the People's Congress of Henan Province passed and issued Regulations on the Protection and Management of King Lujian's Mausoleum in 2007.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

As for the criterion (ii):

King Lujian's Mausoleum faces south, containing progressive steps and a bridge over a pond. While it embodies the high achievement of the planning and landscaping of ancient Chinese mausoleum, the Persian decorations on the stone carvings and the mosaic-like composition on the walls of Baoding reflect technical exchanges in architecture between the east and the west.

As for the criterion (iii):

It is recorded in history that there were 246 tombs of Ming feudal princes, but most of them exist no more or in the form of a small amount of ruins. The well preserved King Lujian's Mausoleum, therefore, provides the most comprehensive piece of evidence for the architectural culture of Ming feudal prince's tomb as well as similar cultural remains dating from other historical periods.

As for the criterion (iv):

Such extant structures as the soul path, the city gates, the five offerings, the sacrificial steles, the Baoding and the underground burial chambers, which are intact, represent the feudal prince's mausoleum, one type of Ming and Qing imperial mausoleums. The architectural scale, which exceeded the standard, has made for outstanding achievements.

As for the criterion (vi):

Zhu Yiliu, the occupant of the tomb, was the only brother of Zhu Yijun, Ming Emperor Shenzong, by the same mother. The tomb, therefore, is essentially related to Ding Mausoleum (the place where Zhu Yijun was buried), one of the Ming Tombs, and belongs to the same series of Ming imperial mausoleums as the Ming Xiao Mausoleum, the Ming Xian Mausoleum and the Ming Tombs.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

Statements of Authenticity:

1. Contours and design

Such major relics as the city wall around King Lujian's Mausoleum, the city gate tower at the entrance, the tomb itself, and stone animals along the soul path are original stone structures that are intact and free of human interference. They are authentic in contours and design.

2. The material and the objects

King Lujian's Mausoleum and the soul path (excluding the second wife's tomb) consist of thirty-six individual remains. Thirty, or 83% of them, are original and under excellent or fairly good preservation. Two, or 2% or them, are under average preservation. Four, or 11% of them, namely the slaughterhouse, the inner city wall, Leng'en Gate and the side halls, are in poor or relatively poor condition, having been rebuilt or partially rebuilt at the original sites. The objects, therefore, are intact and authentic.

3. The use and the function

The use of the architectural complex as the mausoleum of Ming feudal prince Zhu Yiliu is convincingly revealed through the epitaph (King Lujian's Mausoleum Constructed by Imperial Orders), the records on gravestone and sacrificial steles, in combination with the general layout. Its history is clearly and accurately recorded, and the background can be fully integrated into the history of the Ming Dynasty.

4. Tradition, technology and management system

The architectural complex has been under continuous traditional management. It was guarded by soldiers and off limits to ordinary people before the fall of the Ming Dynasty in 1644. It continued to be protected in the early Qing Dynasty, after the government issued orders for the protection of Ming mansions and mausoleums in the third year of Shunzhi's reign (1646). It was renovated after the structures and land were sold to Monk Zhenxi from Mount Wutaishan in the 13th year of Shunzhi's reign (1656), who turned the structures into monks' dormitory and prayer halls and renovated them. It was protected by local villagers from the end of the Qing Dynasty (1911) to 1949, when the People's Republic of China was founded, but part of it was destroyed in the wartime. The local government set up an office for its protection and management in 1978, which was upgraded to be a museum in 1997 for effective renovation and protection.

5. Location and surroundings

King Lujian's Mausoleum is located 13 km north of the City of Xinxiang, 15 km southwest of Weihuifu (present-day Weihui City), where the mansion of King Lu was situated. With Fenghuang Hill in the north, Changling Hill in the east, Hutou Hill in the west, and the water system of Heilongtan poool in the south, the surroundings perfectly conform to traditional fengshui principles on the location of tomb and are largely in the original state.

6. Intangible heritage

The beautiful stone carvings, precious stone animals along the soul path, the calligraphic works by Zhu Changfang, the second-generation King Lu, carved on stones, and the making of guqin (seven-stringed traditional instrument) and the guqin music constitute rich intangible heritage.

7. Spirit and feelings

The local people know much about the architectural complex and are proud of it. There are also temple fairs and sacrificial ceremonies related to it.

Statements of Integrity:

1. Such typical individual structures as the city wall, the soul path, the archways, the sacrificial steles, the Baoding and the underground burial chambers, which are authentic and in good condition, form an architectural complex with a well defined boundary, a complete general layout, and intact major relics.

2. The mausoleum, which covers an area of 157,000 square meters, contains large individual structures: the city gate tower measures 10 meters high and 21 meters wide; the city wall, 6 meters high and 1.5 meters thick, and 942 meters in circumference; the Baoding, 6 meters high and 140 meters in circumference. There are sixteen pairs of stone carvings along the soul path, exceeding any other Chinese mausoleum in number. The mausoleum is among the largest of its type as a whole and in terms of individual structures.

3. Though the surroundings of the mausoleum had been damaged by mining before 1999, all damaging activities were totally banned in 2000, when vigorous efforts started to be made to restore and improve the surroundings. The main surroundings (Fenghuang Hill in the north, Changling Hill in the east and Hutou Hill in the west) remain largely intact and are being environmentally improved with the planting of vegetation.

Comparison with other similar properties

As Zhu Yiliu, the main occupant of King Lujian's Mausoleum, was the ninth-generation grandson of Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty, and the only younger brother of Zhu Yijun, or Emperor Shenzong, by the same mother, the mausoleum is essentially related to the Ding Mausoleum, where Zhu Yijun was buried, and the Ming Xiao Mausoleum, and is in the same series as many Ming tombs of feudal princes. Though less prestigious than the Ding Mausoleum and Xiao Mausoleum, King Lujian's Mausoleum surpasses the Ding Mausoleum, on which it was modeled, in certain aspects: all the structures are built with stone, while most of those in the Ding Mausoleum and Xiao Mausoleum are built with brick and stone/wood; there are fourteen kinds of auspicious animals along the soul path, while there are only six along those of Xiao Mausoleum and the Ming Tombs. King Lujian's Mausoleum also surpasses imperial mausoleums in the material, size, and carving technique of the stone archways, stone sculptures, the five offerings, and the stove for burning silk. It exceeds the standard scale of a feudal prince's tomb as stipulated in Minghuidian (Ming Collected Statutes) by four times; the second wife's tomb exceeds the standard scale more by having nearly the same size as the prince's tomb. Of the mausoleums of the 246 Ming feudal princes distributed across the country, only twenty-four exist in the form of ruins. Nothing but the underground burial chambers is left in the mausoleums of King Luhuang, King Shu and King Zhouding, and little or no above-ground structures are left in other mausoleums. As the only intact Ming feudal prince's tomb in China, King Lujian's Mausoleum is an architectural complex with unique value. It is the sole piece of evidence of the architecture, history and culture of the large number of Ming feudal princes' tombs scattered across the country and an indispensable representative of Ming and Qing imperial mausoleums.