Yongling Mausoleum (The Tomb of Wang Jian)

Wang Jian (847-918) was a general who established the Shu Kingdom at the fall of the Tang Dynasty in 907 as one of the 10 Kingdoms of the Five Dynasties period. The Shu Kingdom (comprising roughly of Sichuan and parts of neighboring provinces) was apparently quite a prosperous place under Wang Jian, but his son managed to run it into the ground within 7 years of succeeding his father. The remarkably well-preserved, dome-shaped Yongling Mausoleum stands 15 meters high and has a diameter of 80 meters.

Excavated in 1942, the mausoleum has a number of noteworthy features. Firstly, it distinguishes itself from other ancient tombs in China by having an above ground burial chamber. Inside the tomb, of principal interest are the carvings of a Tang Dynasty musical troupe around the coffin platform. The 24 musicians and dancers depicted here are significant both for their artistic value and for their historical importance – giving an insight into Tang Dynasty culture. Only traces of the actual coffins (emperors were generally buried inside 5 coffins) and the body still remain. Of similar value to the musician carvings is the stone statue of Emperor Wang Jian at the rear of the burial chamber. Finally, among the relics held in a small museum outside the mausoleum proper are a jade belt and jade scroll of high artistic quality. Unfortunately many of the other burial objects were pilfered by grave robbers over the centuries. The Tomb of Wang Jian isn’t the most fascinating ancient mausoleum you’ll find in China, but is definitely worth a look if you get the time.

Admission: ¥30. Open: 8:00-17:00.

Tel: +86 (028) 8778 9003.

Directions: 10 Yongling Lu (just inside the 1st Ring Road in the north-west [West Section 3]).

Show the taxi driver: 请带我去王建墓, 谢谢。 (Please take me to Yongling Mausoleum. Thank you.)