Tomb of Prince Yide – the Most Visited Imperial tomb of Tang Dynasty

The tomb of Prince Yide in Qianxian County is a subordinate tomb of the Qianling Mausoleum. It is also one of the most visited imperial tombs of the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Overview of Prince Yide Tomb

Prince Yide, named Li Chongrun is the first son of Emperor Zhongzong (Li Xian) and the grandson of Empress Wu Zetian. He died in 701 when he was 19 years old. Reason of his death is the same as the Princess Yongtai – talking about Empress Wu Zetian’s affairs with her male lovers. After his father Emperor Zhongzong came to the throne for the 2nd time in 705, Prince Yide’s body was moved to the Qianling burial area and then it became a subordinate tomb of the Qianling Mausoleum.

Xian Tomb of Prince Yide

Cultural Relics from the Tomb of Prince Yide

From July 1971 to May 1972 the state had his tomb excavated and cleared up. It is discovered that the tomb extends 100. 8 meters in total, consisting of eight parts: six tunnels, seven small yards, eight little shrines and passageways in the front and at the back as well as front and rear coffin cavities.

Though the tomb had been rubbed in history, the cultural findings from the tomb still reach a total of over 1, 000 pieces. Among them, there are die gold-foiled and colorfully painted cavalry figure in scales, three horse-riding hunters of tri-color pottery, crockery, gold, copper and iron wares as well as broken pieces of a gold-foiled jade registry inscribed with Ou-style calligraphy in intaglio.

Still found in the tomb are some 40 pieces of murals, which cover around murals are colorfully gild differently shaped and are of high artistic value. However, the most representative one is the ” guard of honor,” “with hawk ready to set free for hunting,” “hunting with hawk,” “an array of halberds” and “court ladies-in-waiting” as well as 54 square maters of linear stone-carvings.

What is more is the mural showing off the “guard of honor at the towered-gate of an enclosed city” which is a rare piece in the world and some other cultural relics. And these provide us a detailed and reliable material reference for the study of politics, economy, military affairs, culture and architecture as well as foreign relations of the Tang Dynasty, and enjoy a high appreciative value too.

Tomb of Prince Yide

Established now in the tomb area is a museum for displaying the findings and some activities for visitors Chinese and foreign alike to share the fun with.

Interesting Findings during the Excavation

During the tomb excavation, archeologists found an interesting thing. According to historical document, Prince Yide didn’t marry till he died in 701.  And in 705 when he was re-buried close to Qianling Mausoleum burial area, his father Emperor Zhongzong held a Ghost Marriage ceremony for him. The emperor proposed to a official and required to marry the offocial’s dead daughter to Prince Yide. As a result, Prince Yide has a wife burying with him and can company him in his after life.

As expected, archeologists found a  male body and a female body respectively in the coffin. And according to the professional analysis the two bodies were all no older than 19 years old when they died. Though it looks stupid to modern people, it reflects Emperor Zhongzong’s deep love and regret to his son.

Travel Tips for Prince Yide Tomb

  • As the subordinate tombs of Qianling Mausoleum, entrance fee of Princess Yongtai’s Tomb and Prince Yide’s Tomb were all included in the entrance fee of the Qianling Mausoleum.
  • Qianling Mausoleum has not been excavated yet, so tourists could only see the huge grave mound pile – Liangshan and some up-ground sacrificial objects. While in Princess Yongtai’s Tomb and Prince Yide’s Tomb one can go into inside of the tomb to learn more about the imperial mausoleum of the Tang Dynasty.
  • For international tourists, it’s recommended to visit the tomb by renting a car with a driver from a local travel agency. The cost is affordable and your transfer between tombs and the city area will be more convenient.

Recommended Xian Tours including Qianling Mausoleum