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    On September 6, 1958, the Xinhua News Agency issued a piece of news: the Dingling Mausoleum of the Ming Tombs had been opened and the grave had been found an underground palace. Dingling Mausoleum is the grave of Zhu Yijun, the 13th Ming emperor, and his two empresses. This is the first imperial grave to be opened in scientific ways with the permission of the state government.

    The underground palace is 27 metres under the earth surface. It covers an area of 1,195 square metres and consists of five halls. The unfurnished front hall has only square logs on the ground. These are ruts left by carriage wheels when the coffins were carried in. The middle hall has marble seats. The middle one with patterns of clouds and dragons is for the emperor. The other two at its both sides are for Empresses Xiaoduan and Xiaojing.

    The spacious rear palace is the major part of the grave. On the coffin platform lie three red painted coffins. The middle one is for the emperor. The left one is for Empress Xiaoduan, and the right one, for Empress Xiaojing. At both ends of the platform are red painted wooden boxes containing burial articles. Most of them are rotten. The emperor Zhu Yijun ascended throne at the age of 10 and reigned for 48 years. Among the Ming emperors he reigned the longest time. During his reign he was lazy in administrative affairs, but he spared no pains to manage his grave. The Dingling Mausoleum was built in six years at the cost of 8 million liang, or 12 million ounces, of silver, which was two years' national revenue of that time. Three thousand precious objects were unearthed from his tomb. They were displayed in the Chamber of Divine Favour and showrooms of Dingling Mausoleum.A large number of the unearthed objects are gold and silver ware, like basins, kettles, wine cups, bowls, boxes and so on.The most noteworthy is the gold crown. It is woven in gold threads with patterns of two dragons sporting a pearl. This is the first one unearthed in China. Excavated are four crowns for empresses to wear in nuptial ceremonies. Each of these crowns has 5,000 pearls and 100 gems. The refined gold and jade hairpins bear the Chinese characters for "happiness" and "longevity".

    Chinaware of the Ming Dynasty is exquisite. The firing technique for blue porcelain was advanced. These blue porcelain bottles were luxury articles of the Ming chinaware.Brocaded silk of the Ming Dynasty is reputed. The brocaded silk unearthed from Dingling Mausoleum was woven in golden threads and has beautiful patterns. The dragon robe for the emperor has 12 patterns of different dragons on it. The Empress Xiaojing's robe has patterns of 100 children, each vivid and lifelike.