Tomb of Princess Yong Tai

Pyramid of Princess Yong-Tai - an Underground Mausoleum-Monument of the Tang Era

Princess Yong-Tai (684-701) was granddaughter of Emperor Gaozong of Tang dynasty and Empress Wu Zetian. The 17 -year-old girl was poisoned by order of her own grandmother, as soon as the latter felt that the young princess constituted a threat to her power.

Because the princess and her husband were declared traitors, the mausoleum for her was not built until the Wu Zetian’s death. The tomb is of great historical and cultural value, because, despite its small size, it is a classic example of ritual architecture of Imperial China, when the emperors were buried in pyramidal tombs with a mound, being constructed on top of it. Today, the mausoleum, a part of the Qianling complex, is open to the public.

The Princess’ tomb was opened in 1961; it has a rather simple layout and is built in the form of a long underground corridor leading to two chambers with domed ceilings. The first chamber was used for ritual purposes, and the other housed a princess’ sarcophagus decorated with images of maids of honor and mandarin ducks. The side rooms of the chambers comprised about 1,300 ceramic figurines of people and animals, objects of gold and silver, chinaware and other items intended to accompany the princess in the afterlife.

The tomb of Princess Yong-Tai was decorated with highly artistic murals which depicted mythical animals, bodyguards, the maids of honor. Despite the fact that they are more than 13 centuries, the murals are well preserved, losing no brightness of colors. Now the tourists can admire copies of the frescoes because the originals were sent to the Historical Museum of Shaanxi Province.