Friday, June 7, 2013

Ming Tombs Sacred Way

The pathway to the Ming Tombs is known as the Sacred Way. The site of each of the tombs was constructed using Feng Shui principles. A seven kilometer path leads to the complex of tombs and is known as the Spirit Way or Sacred Way.

The pathway leading to the valley of Ming Dynasty Tombs.

The entrance gate. (although we walked to pathway backwards)

We strolled along the pathway marveling at the eighteen pairs of stone statues.

Love the Weeping Willows
Each statue was carved from one stone and are larger than real life counterparts.

Priests - with scroll to block the direct viewing of the Emperor

Always need a bit of security

xiezhi (a mythical dragon-unicorn)
The animals, in pairs, were displayed standing and kneeling and each had a different meaning.

Every area we visited in China had "guardians" on the roof. The first is an "immortal man" riding a rooster. The maximum number of guardians is nine, including evil-dispelling bull, courageous goat-bull , wind- and storm-summoning fish, mythical lion, auspicious seahorse, heavenly horse, lion, and chiwen, a son of dragon.

The dragon turtle is another big part of Chinese mythology. He is often displayed with carrying something large and heavy on his back. He was the inspiration behind Mario's nemisis Bowser. Yeah, we had to incorporate something geeky during this trip.

Dragon Turtle

Posing with "Bowser"
We picked a perfect day to visit the Sacred Way. The weather was cool and overcast. Only three of the tombs are currently open to the public, but on our short schedule we weren't able to visit any of them. However, walking the Sacred Way was worth the stop. Chinese mythology is present in every detail of every stone.

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