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Xixia Royal Mausoleum

Xixia Royal Mausoleum, also known as Xixia imperial mausoleum and Xixia imperial mausoleum, is the imperial mausoleum and Royal Mausoleum of the Western Xia dynasties. Located in the west of Yinchuan City, Ningxia, adjacent to Helan Mountain in the west and Yinchuan Plain in the east, the Royal Mausoleum is one of the largest and most complete Imperial Mausoleums in China and the largest existing site of Xixia Culture. Xixia Royal Mausoleum scenic area covers an area of more than 58 square kilometers, and the core scenic area is 20.9 square kilometers. There are nine Imperial Mausoleums and more than 200 accompanying tombs of princes and nobles. The scale is grand and the layout design is rigorous. Each imperial mausoleum is a vertical rectangular independent building group sitting north to south, with the same scale as the Ming Tombs. The Western Xia mausoleum absorbed the advantages of the imperial mausoleum of the Tang and Song Dynasties since the Qin and Han Dynasties, and was influenced by Buddhist architecture. It is a unique form of Chinese Cemetery architecture, so it is called the Oriental Pyramid.

Each Mausoleum of Xixia King’s Mausoleum covers an area of more than 100000 square meters, which is very large in scale. Its appearance is similar to the pagoda, which is quite different from the square Imperial Mausoleums in Central Plains. The buildings in the cemetery and the surface of the mausoleum platform are decorated with ochre red, which makes people think of the grand momentum of that year. The inside of the tomb is a square tomb with a narrow front and a wide back. There is a matching room with a depth of 25 meters on both sides. It belongs to the form of earth cave tomb, and stone horses and bronze cattle are generally used for burial. There are a variety of gold ornaments, gold-plated silver ornaments, copper armor pieces, bamboo carvings, pearls, porcelain fragments and other cultural relics unearthed in the tombs.

In 1988, it was declared as a national key cultural relics protection unit and national key scenic spot by the State Council. It is known as “mysterious miracle” and “Oriental pyramid”. In order to let people at home and abroad understand the history of Xixia and explore the mysteries of Xixia Culture, while constantly strengthening the protection of cultural relics in the mausoleum area, the tourist area centered on Tomb No.3 has been developed. The Xixia Museum, Xixia historical and vernacular Art Museum, Xixia stele forest and other scenic spots that can show the profound history and culture of Xixia have been built. The mysterious Xixia mausoleum is a bright cultural pearl at the foot of Helan Mountain in the west of Yinchuan. It is a tourist attraction for people to appreciate Xixia Culture and explore the ancient. It has infinite attraction because of its attractive charm and the cultural relics and historic sites of Xixia, which are quite different from those in the Central Plains.

The Western Xia mausoleum not only absorbed the advantages of the Imperial Mausoleums since Qin and Han Dynasties, especially the Tang and Song Dynasties, but also was influenced by Buddhist architecture, which organically combined the Han culture, Buddhist culture and Dangxiang national culture, forming a unique form of cemetery architecture in China. The scale of Xixia mausoleum is grand and its layout is strict. Each imperial mausoleum is composed of quetaui platform (entrance guidance), divine wall, stele pavilion, turret, moon city(inner city guardian space), inner city, xiandian hall (altar), lingtai platform (coffin platform), etc.

The unique feature of Xixia mausoleum is that there are no plants on it. Some people say that the mausoleum is made of rammed earth. There is no gap where grass seeds can stay and take root. On its hard and smooth surface, there is no condition for grass seeds to survive. However, can soil be harder than stone? As we all know, if the stone has a slight crack, grass will grow when grass seeds fall. The rammed earth of the mausoleum can’t be without a crack. This is obviously a far fetched statement. Some archaeologists have also put forward an argument that it is possible that when the mausoleum was built, the nutrients for the growth of grass seeds were removed by fumigating the soil, so it is not impossible to grow grass. Each imperial mausoleum of Xixia Royal Mausoleum generally has a closed, horseshoe shaped moon city with an external city attached. The tombs are generally three chamber earth cave structure, the four walls of the tomb are provided with wall boards, and there are coffins in the tomb. From the perspective of the whole group, the quetai platform is like the gate keeper of the imperial mausoleum; behind is the stele pavilion, which is carved in Chinese and Xixia Characters to praise the achievements of the emperor for future generations. It is full of emotion to think of Yuan Hao’s saying that “a hero’s life should achieve hegemony”. Moon city is the place where stone sculptures of civil servants and military generals are placed, and the stone foundation is made of loess It is a layered octagonal tower building; in ancient China, the mausoleum platform of traditional cemetery buildings is usually earth mound, which is located under the tomb chamber; as the name implies, the xiandian hall(altar) is used for offering sacrifices and offering sacrifices.

Archaeologists have also carried out a number of comprehensive and systematic surveys and mapping surveys in the mausoleum area, and constantly found new tombs of different sizes. The number of tombs discovered increased from 15 to more than 70, and then to nearly 100 or more. As of 1999, a total of 9 Imperial Mausoleums and 253 accompanying tombs have been found, which are comparable to the song tombs in Gongxian County, Henan Province and the Ming Tombs in Beijing. Experts confirmed that there are still some that have not been discovered and disappeared due to natural factors such as the Helan mountain torrents, so the real number can be seen. Five kilometers from east to west, more than 10 kilometers from north to south, with a total area of more than 50 square kilometers, such a large Royal Cemetery is indeed rare in China. No wonder some scholars lament that if we can restore the original magnificent architecture of Xixia mausoleum, the environment of pine and cypress, and the atmosphere of purple smoke, the magnificent scene of imperial mausoleum will reappear in the northwest frontier. On the precise coordinate map, people are also surprised to find that nine Imperial Mausoleums form a Beidou star pattern, and the accompanying tombs are all arranged according to the stars! In the selection activity of “100 archaeological discoveries in the 20th century of China” which ended in April 2000, the investigation and excavation of Xixia royal mausoleum has an important position and role in the history of Chinese Archaeology because of its great scientific value and significance. 100 archaeological discoveries, including the excavation of Zhoukoudian site in Beijing and the discovery and excavation of Yinxu site in Anyang, Henan Province, were honored with this honor.

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