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Notes on the Geography of China: Beijing: Ming Tombs: Photo 8

world pictures China: Beijing: Ming Tombs

The tomb of the Yongle Emperor, Zhu Di, is, like all the others around it, deep underground, in a tradition that stretches back to the Zhou Dynasty of the first millennium B.C. Zhu Di reached far back into tradition even to name his mausoleum, because the name he picked--Changling--is also the name of the mausoleum of the first Han emperor. Zhu Di departed from tradition, however, in adding an entrance courtyard and a sacrificial hall. Here it is, inside the tomb perimeter: the Hall of Heavenly Favors (Ling'endian). Annual sacrifices were made until 1924.

Befitting Zhu Di's importance as the greatest Ming emperor, this is the only hall of the 13 with a triple Sumeru terrace. Until the introduction of Western building methods, it was also very nearly the largest building in China--second only, and by only a tiny bit, to the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City.

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