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Discussion on digging Qianling Mausoleum
Latest Updated by 2006-07-10 11:07:50
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(Qianling Mausoleum)

Recently, there has been heated discussion on whether the Qianling Mausoleum should be dug out in Xian. It's said the Shaanxi administration of cultural heritage and Qianling Museum are ready to improve the environment of the Qianling Mausoleum and repair it. They hope to dig out the Qianling Mausoleum if technology and labor are sufficient.

According to the epitaph, before Tang Emperor Gaozong (Li Zhi) died, he asked in his will to bury his favorite paintings and pictures into the tomb. Since Tang Emperor Gaozong (Li Zhi) and Empress Wu Zetian led the golden age of the Tang Dynasty, the paintings and pictures are invaluable.

After the liberation of China, there were many applications to dig out the Qianling Mausoleum which were objected by the state administration.

Reasons to Dig: to Explore more of The History of the Tang Dynasty

Shi Xingbang, the chairman of the Shaanxi Archaeology Institute, says the Qianling Mausoleum is the only one which hasn't been plundered until now, so skeletons, various silver and golden articles, ceramics, carpentry and silk items inside the tomb are invaluable for archaeological purposes. They can help us explore more about the history of the Tang Dynasty. Though the tomb is well built, nobody knows what the tomb is like inside or whether earthquakes, sienna and the weather have had an effect on the materials inside the tomb. It is also possible the items in the tomb will be putrefied after being dug out, but we would rather that than the items be putrefied inside the tomb. Furthermore, we have gained enough experience by digging other tombs.

Reasons Not to Dig

Su Bai, an archaeology professor from Peking University, says we should be very careful about what our ancestors left for us. With limited scientific technology, he thinks the environment 1,000 meters underground is comparatively stable.

State Administration of Cultural Heritage: No Approval of Digging Qianling Mausoleum

The State Administration of Cultural Heritage says it is not for digging the Qianling Mausoleum. It holds the principle of preservation and salvage rather than dig.

Brief Introduction of the Qianling Mausoleum

Qianling Mausoleum, situated on Liangshan Hill to the north of Qianxian county (in Xian in central Shaanxi province), is a joint tomb of Tang Emperor Gaozong (Li Zhi) and Empress Wu Zetian. There was a lot of architecture on the ground of the tomb which was a grand necropolis. The huge stone statues arrayed in front of the tomb are well preserved up to this day. They demonstrate remarkable achievements in the sculptural arts during the prime of the Tang Dynasty. A great deal of excellent handicrafts -- for example, tri-colored and gold and silver wares -- were unearthed from the satellite tombs. The murals unearthed from the minor tombs to the Qianling Mausoleum are colorful. With smooth lines and gorgeous colors, they gracefully depict many ancient paintings.

Editor: Wing

By: Source: CRI web edition
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