05.15.2010 - 05.15.2010
While we didn't go to too many sites today, it was still filled with lots of things to see and really sore feet. The first mausoleum we went to was a tiny one, that of a granddaughter of the Dowager Empress Wu. In one story, she was spreading rumors about the grandmother, in another she died in child birth. In any case, she wasn't very ceremoniously buried, which is why her tomb is tiny, but it's still filled with treasure. Too bad there were a lot of artifacts I wasn't allowed to photograph.
Next was the tomb "mountain" of the Dowager Empress. While her tomb has been located it hasn't been excavated. Because everything in China costs money, we didn't take a tour to go see her actual site, just the mountain where she's lying. Tang rulers like to dig into mountains, the Han and Qin like to go underground. In any case, she's the first and only female emperor in Chinese history, so it was neat to check out. She also left an unmarked stone pillar, which traditionally would've proclaimed the ruler's feats in life, but she decided to forgo that route and let history decide her performance.
The last place we visited after going through 5 roadblocks was Famen Si, a Buddhist complex that has been around since the Tang, so about 1500 + years. It housed a finger bone of Sakayamuni and 8 emperors have personally worshiped at the complex. The stuff we saw today though, was all new. The temple complex fell into disuse and abuse over the last 1000 years and only a portion of the original 24 courts remain. The new stuff looks too modern for Buddha...but oh well, just my opinion. I really wished we had known that the antiquities region of the complex would've been open we would've gone there first instead of seeing the giant gold plated Buddha. When the main tower collapsed in 1981, they started to rebuild and unearthed a hidden cache of Tang era treasure which included the finger bone. Sadly, I wasn't allowed to photograph in the museum, but there were some amazing artifacts that showed the Tang's ingenuity and artistic prowess.
Hopefully, I'll learn how to post pictures correctly....
- Shuang Ouyang