Imperial Mausoleums and Tombs: Resting Places for Imperial Rulers

Imperial Mausoleums and Tombs takes up the art, form, and layout of Chinese imperial mausoleums and tombs, a key element of the Chinese architectural tradition. As Chinese society became more advanced, the Chinese burial tradition grew in complexity. From simple graves to the construction of magnificent imperial mausoleums, the form and design of imperial burial sites were influenced by contemporaneous social conditions, state power, techniques and artistry. Imperial mausoleums were often constructed to simulate imperial palaces, providing a record of the architecture and technology of their time. In addition to the sarcophagus, mausoleums contained carvings, sculptures, paintings, and calligraphy. As a result, sites for emperors’ eternal rest became sacred art treasuries as well.

Chinese burial systems were based on the idea that souls would not disappear, and that death meant the beginning of another life. Accordingly, many mausoleums combined spacious and mysterious underground palaces with burial chambers and impressive above-ground structures. Tragically, the majority of these have been destroyed, plundered, or have never been excavated. Imperial Mausoleums and Tombs details the design and construction of many imperial mausoleums and tombs, from the Qin, Tang, Song, Ming, and Qing dynasties. This volume explores their lavish appearance, colorful decoration, and exquisite interior and exterior finishes with 144 color photographs, 23 illustrations and figures, 2 charts, and 2 maps.

Wang Boyang

Wang Boyang was born in Xiaoshan, Zhejiang Province. He graduated in 1960 from the Department of Architecture of the Nanjing Engineering College. He has edited several books, including Gardens, Mausoleums, and Tombs A Survey of the Traditional Chinese Architecture, and Altars and Temples. He has published many academic essays and book reviews, and since 1979 has been editor-in-chief of the periodical Architects.

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