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All in, thirteen of sixteen Ming Emperors were buried in this royal necropolis, including Empresses and many concubines, some buried alive to accompany the Emperor to his next world.Ming Tombs are located about 31 miles from Beijing, with 13 emperors buried in a complex that spreads some 15 square miles.
Visitors approach the tombs through The Great Red Gate.White stone columns called hua biao flank many of the imperial buildings in and around Beijing. Carved in the form of a writhing dragon, the columns are topped with mythical beasts called hou,which were thought to report to the emperor.Like the Forbidden City, the tomb buildings have imperial yellow roof tiles.
Besides, different animals had each their symbolic significance:
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dressed in ceremonial garments, appropriate for the presence of the emperor.Stone sculpture meets roof tiles at the entrance to one of the tombs in the complex.
ferocious in nature and lording it over the animal kingdom, symbolized awesome solemnity.
being dependable means of transport in the deserts and tropics, put together at the imperial tombs, were meant to suggest the vastness of the territory controlled by the court.
a mythological unicorn which was supposed to possess a sixth sense to tell between right and wrong and which, when two men were embroiled in a fight, would gore the wicked one, was put there to keep evil spirits away.
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