Ming Zu Ling Revisited, June 2012

In June 2012 I made a quick three day trip up to Huai An where I revisited the Ming Dynasty Ancestor Tomb (Ming Zu Ling) site for the third time, but the first time since 2005. Now I finally have a full collection of digital photographs of the site, a selection of which are posted below.  Be sure to also see the full bilingual text of my 2008 article about the site in a separate blog post at  http://yangziman.blog.com/2012/05/08/the-ming-dynasty-ancestor-tomb-in-huai-an/.

For those of you actually contemplating visiting the site in person, here’s a few updates on logistics.

The nearby town of Xuyi has a new long distance bus station with bus service between Xuyi and the closest city of Huai An, but it seems to close down quite early in the day sometime around 5:00 pm, so time your return trip accordingly.  A one-way taxi ride between Xuyi and Huai An costs a whopping 300 Rmb.

The road from Xuyi town out to the Ming Zu Ling site in the countryside has been changed since my 2005 visit, and is now slightly different than in my 2008 article about the site.  There are now two separate roads to Ming Zu Ling village and the tomb site itself.  This means there are in effect two Ming Zu Lings, so you have to specify which one you want when telling a local taxi driver where to go.   To get to the tomb site you now have to turn right off of the main highway onto Long Fei Da Dao (Flying Dragon Avenue) immediately after crossing the Liu Zi He Da Qiao bridge.    This change actually makes the tomb site even more isolated than it was before, because Long Fei Da Dao is a dead end road that does not go anywhere else, the end of the road is far from the main highway where you might be able to catch a passing vehicle for a ride back to Xuyi town, and this new road does not go to Ming Zu Ling village.  If you don’t have a vehicle wait for you at the tomb site parking lot it’s unlikely that there will be any available vehicle to take you back until after you walk 10 kilometers down Long Fei Da Dao back to the main highway.

Although the tomb site itself was largely  in the same well-preserved condition as I found it in 2005, the visitor facilities have in some ways gotten worse.  There’s no food, no water, and no drinks, so be sure to come prepared with your own lunch, snacks, and bottled drinks.   Disappointingly, the small book shop that had been attached to the Exhibition Hall has since closed, so you can no longer purchase copies of the Chinese language books about the history of the site that I was able to acquire there on my previous visits.

Despite the rather bleak conditions for visitors, the tomb site has become extremely popular with those notorious large bus tour groups led by megaphone wielding guides.  On my previous visits I had the whole site to myself, but this time I had to dodge wave after wave of tour bus groups and their guides, sometimes hiding in the bushes until a window of opportunity appeared to get some unobscured shots.   It took a lot of effort to get the shots of the site you see below, which only appear to have a tranquil quality do to my guerrilla photography tactics.

A brief Chinese language history of the Ming Zu Ling site.

A brief Chinese language history of the Ming Zu Ling site.

A map of the Mingzuling site.

A map of the Mingzuling site.

A close up of part of the Mingzuling map.

A close up of part of the Mingzuling map.

The south gate known as Nan Da Men.

The south gate known as Nan Da Men.

The Exhibition Hall (Zhan Lan Guan)

The Exhibition Hall (Zhan Lan Guan)

The South Red Gate (Nan Hong Men) leading to the Sacred Way (Shen Dao).

The South Red Gate (Nan Hong Men) leading to the Sacred Way (Shen Dao).

The first third of the Sacred Way (Shen Dao) starts with four stone Qylin statues, followed by 12 stone lions, and then four Hua Biao columns.

The first third of the Sacred Way (Shen Dao) starts with four stone Qylin statues, followed by 12 stone lions, and then four Hua Biao columns. The entire sacred way has a total of 42 stone statues.

One of the four mythical Qylin animals standing on the west side of the Shen Dao..

One of the four mythical Qylin animals standing on the west side of the Shen Dao..

The two Qylin on the east side of the Shen Dao.

The two Qylin on the east side of the Shen Dao.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Second Qylin on the west side.

Second Qylin on the west side.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

Qylin.

The four Qylin statues as seen from the east side of the Shen Dao.

The four Qylin statues as seen from the east side of the Shen Dao.

The 12 stone lions as seen from the east side of the Shen Dao.

The 12 stone lions as seen from the east side of the Shen Dao.

The 12 stone lions lead up to the four Hua Biao columns.

The 12 stone lions lead up to the four Hua Biao columns.

The four Hua Biao columns come in two pairs.  The first, taller pair are in Tang style, while the second slightly shorter pair are in Song style.

The four Hua Biao columns come in two pairs. The first, taller pair are in Tang style, while the second slightly shorter pair are in Song style.

The two Huai Biao columns on the west side of the Shen Dao.  The taller one in front is in Tang style, whereas the shorter one behind it is in Song style.

The two Huai Biao columns on the west side of the Shen Dao. The taller one in front is in Tang style, whereas the shorter one behind it is in Song style.

The Horse Officer (Ma Guan) on the east side of the Shen Dao is missing his head.

The Horse Officer (Ma Guan) on the east side of the Shen Dao is missing his head.

The Horse Officer (Ma Guan) on the west side of the Shen Dao is intact.

The Horse Officer (Ma Guan) on the west side of the Shen Dao is intact.

Another shot of the Horse Officer (Ma Guan) on the east side who is missing his head.

Another shot of the Horse Officer (Ma Guan) on the east side who is missing his head.

Another shot of the Horse Officer (Ma Guan) on the west side which is intact.

Another shot of the Horse Officer (Ma Guan) on the west side which is intact.

Horse Servant (La Ma Shi Zhe) and a common horse (Putong Ma) on the east side of the Shen Dao.

Horse Servant (La Ma Shi Zhe) and a common horse (Putong Ma) on the east side of the Shen Dao.

Horse Servant (La Ma Shi Zhe) and a common horse (Putong Ma) on the west side of the Shen Dao.

Horse Servant (La Ma Shi Zhe) and a common horse (Putong Ma) on the west side of the Shen Dao.

The second Horse Officer (Ma Guan) on the east side is missing his face.

The second Horse Officer (Ma Guan) on the east side is missing his face.

The second Horse Officer (Ma Guan) on the west side has an incredibly bright white head.

The second Horse Officer (Ma Guan) on the west side has an incredibly bright white head.

South side of the Heavenly Horse (Tian Ma) on the east side of the Shen Dao.

South side of the Heavenly Horse (Tian Ma) on the east side of the Shen Dao.

Close up of the intricate detail on the saddle of the Heavenly Horse (Tian Ma) on the east side of the Shen Dao.

Close up of the intricate detail on the saddle of the Heavenly Horse (Tian Ma) on the east side of the Shen Dao.

The saddle of the Heavenly Horse (Tian Ma) on the east side of the Shen Dao.

The saddle of the Heavenly Horse (Tian Ma) on the east side of the Shen Dao.

The south side of the Heavenly Horse (Tian Ma) on the west side of the Shen Dao.

The south side of the Heavenly Horse (Tian Ma) on the west side of the Shen Dao.

The saddle of the Heavenly Horse (Tian Ma) on the west side of the Shen Dao.

The saddle of the Heavenly Horse (Tian Ma) on the west side of the Shen Dao.

Statue of a civil official (Wen Chen) of the 5th rank dressed in Tang style on the east side of the Shen Dao, after the Tian Ma and just before the Jin Shui Qiao.

Statue of a civil official (Wen Chen) of the 5th rank dressed in Tang style on the east side of the Shen Dao, after the Tian Ma and just before the Jin Shui Qiao.

Statue of a civil official (Wen Chen) of the 5th rank dressed in Tang style on the west side of the Shen Dao, after the Tian Ma and just before the Jin Shui Qiao.

Statue of a civil official (Wen Chen) of the 5th rank dressed in Tang style on the west side of the Shen Dao, after the Tian Ma and just before the Jin Shui Qiao.

View of the final third of the Shen Dao from the Jin Shui Qiao with the Tomb Mound visible in the distance.

View of the final third of the Shen Dao from the Jin Shui Qiao with the Tomb Mound visible in the distance.

Another view of the final third of the Shen Dao from the Jin Shui Qiao with the Tomb Mound visible in the distance.

Another view of the final third of the Shen Dao from the Jin Shui Qiao with the Tomb Mound visible in the distance.

The final third of the Shen Dao after the Jin Shui Qiao features 12 statues including four civil officials (Wen Chen), four military officers (Wu Jiang), and four eunuchs (Tai Jian).

The final third of the Shen Dao after the Jin Shui Qiao features 12 statues including four civil officials (Wen Chen), four military officers (Wu Jiang), and four eunuchs (Tai Jian).

The final third of the Shen Dao after the Jin Shui Qiao features 12 statues including four civil officials (Wen Chen), four military officers (Wu Jiang), and four eunuchs (Tai Jian).

The final third of the Shen Dao after the Jin Shui Qiao features 12 statues including four civil officials (Wen Chen), four military officers (Wu Jiang), and four eunuchs (Tai Jian).

The east side of the final third of the Shen Dao features 6 statues of 2 civil officials (Wen Chen), 2 military officers (Wu Jiang), and 2 eunuchs (Tai Jian).

The east side of the final third of the Shen Dao features 6 statues of 2 civil officials (Wen Chen), 2 military officers (Wu Jiang), and 2 eunuchs (Tai Jian).

The west side of the final third of the Shen Dao features 6 statues of 2 civil officials (Wen Chen), 2 military officers (Wu Jiang), and 2 eunuchs (Tai Jian).

The west side of the final third of the Shen Dao features 6 statues of 2 civil officials (Wen Chen), 2 military officers (Wu Jiang), and 2 eunuchs (Tai Jian).

The first civil official (Wen Chen) of the 1st or 2nd rank on the east side of the Shen Dao.

The first civil official (Wen Chen) of the 1st or 2nd rank on the east side of the Shen Dao.

The first civil official (Wen Chen) of the 1st or 2nd rank on the west side of the Shen Dao.

The first civil official (Wen Chen) of the 1st or 2nd rank on the west side of the Shen Dao.

The second civil official (Wen Chen) of the 1st or 2nd rank on the west side of the Shen Dao.

The second civil official (Wen Chen) of the 1st or 2nd rank on the west side of the Shen Dao.

Civil official (Wen Chen) of the 1st or 2nd rank.

Civil official (Wen Chen) of the 1st or 2nd rank.

Civil official (Wen Chen) of the 1st or 2nd rank.

Civil official (Wen Chen) of the 1st or 2nd rank.

Civil official (Wen Chen) of the 1st or 2nd rank.

Civil official (Wen Chen) of the 1st or 2nd rank.

One of the four military officers (Wu Jiang).

One of the four military officers (Wu Jiang).

One of the four military officers (Wu Jiang).

One of the four military officers (Wu Jiang).

One of the four military officers (Wu Jiang).

One of the four military officers (Wu Jiang).

One of the four military officers (Wu Jiang).

One of the four military officers (Wu Jiang).

One of the four military officers (Wu Jiang).

One of the four military officers (Wu Jiang).

One of the four military officers (Wu Jiang).

One of the four military officers (Wu Jiang).

Two military officers (Wu Jiang) on one side of the Shen Dao.

Two military officers (Wu Jiang) on one side of the Shen Dao.

A military officer (Wu Jiang).

A military officer (Wu Jiang).

Two military officers (Wu Jiang) and two civil officials (Wen Chen) on the west side of the Shen Dao.

Two military officers (Wu Jiang) and two civil officials (Wen Chen) on the west side of the Shen Dao.

Two military officers (Wu Jiang) and two civil officials (Wen Chen) on the east side of the Shen Dao.

Two military officers (Wu Jiang) and two civil officials (Wen Chen) on the east side of the Shen Dao.

One of the four eunuchs (Tai Jian) is missing his face.

One of the four eunuchs (Tai Jian) is missing his face.

Another shot of one of the four eunuchs (Tai Jian) who is missing his face.

Another shot of one of the four eunuchs (Tai Jian) who is missing his face.

Another eunuch (Tai Jian) missing his whole head and front half of his body is the last statue at the southern end of the east side of the Shen Dao.

Another eunuch (Tai Jian) missing his whole head and front half of his body is the last statue at the southern end of the east side of the Shen Dao.

The only fully intact eunuch (Tai Jian) is the last statue at the southern end of the west side of the Shen Dao.

The only fully intact eunuch (Tai Jian) is the last statue at the southern end of the west side of the Shen Dao.

The west side of the final third of the Shen Dao featuring six statues, viewed from the southeast, with the two eunuchs in the foreground, the two military officers to their left, and the two civil officials in the background near the Jin Shui Qiao.

The west side of the final third of the Shen Dao featuring six statues, viewed from the southeast, with the two eunuchs in the foreground, the two military officers to their left, and the two civil officials in the background near the Jin Shui Qiao.

The east side of the final third of the Shen Dao featuring six statues, viewed from the southwest, with the two eunuchs in the foreground, the two military officers to their left, and the two civil officials in the background near the Jin Shui Qiao.

The east side of the final third of the Shen Dao featuring six statues, viewed from the southwest, with the two eunuchs in the foreground, the two military officers to their left, and the two civil officials in the background near the Jin Shui Qiao.

This view of the final third of the Shen Dao from the west shows the intricate designs on the back of the robes worn by the eunuchs and civil officials, as well as the chain mail armor worn by the military officers.

This view of the final third of the Shen Dao from the west shows the intricate designs on the back of the robes worn by the eunuchs and civil officials, as well as the chain mail armor worn by the military officers.

To be continued…..Stay tuned for the epilogue.

About YangziMan

I'm a U.S. citizen who has spent the last 14 years living, working, and traveling in China continuously without a break. I have written five books about China for overseas publishers, and a host of scholarly articles for academic journals such as the Royal Asiatic Society and China Heritage Quarterly. Visit My Amazon.com Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/ericdanielson
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