Day By Day

Friday, June 12, 2009

China Diary -- Part 7 Visiting the Mings

After lunch we were off again, this time to a cloisonne factory. And again there was a large showroom attached where our handler encouraged us to linger and to buy, buy, buy. There were some lovely pieces on display, but nothing in a reasonable price range that particularly appealed to me, or to my wife [although this peacock was sorta neat].

Then it was back on the road, this time to visit the Tombs of the Ming Emperors and to walk the Sacred Path leading to them. The entire complex covers more than 40 square kilometers and includes the tombs of thirteen emperors and 23 empresses -- far too much to see. We focused in on the largest of the tombs -- the Chang tomb where we met this guy.

He's Yongle, the third Ming emperor. Quite a remarkable figure, don't you think? He sits in the Hall of Eminent Favor, a site so impressive that subsequent emperors used it for offering sacrifices to their ancestors.

Check this out. Each of those pillars is carved from the trunk of a single cypress tree. And, of course, as at all government facilities there is a lovely young woman there to greet the tourists.

After leaving the Chang Tomb we started to walk the Sacred Way of the Spirit, along which the bodies of emperors passed on their way to their tombs along a path lined with statues of their servitors and various exotic beasts. We soon found that the Sacred Way was seven kilometers long, so we settled for just a short stretch.

Which brought us here.

He's a lucky turtle. If you rub his nose you will have great wealth. If you touch his tail he will grant you long life [or is it the other way around?]. The point is he is so large that you can't do both simultaneously, so you have to choose one or the other. Interesting. "She Who Must Not Be Named" ran quickly from one to the other -- She's determined to have it all.

A short rest, then back on the buses. Our next destination, the Summer Palace!