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Journeys in Time 2010-09-17 A mysterious ancient building Part 3

09-17-2010 18:47 BJT


Today we reach the concluding part of our series about a mysterious ancient building on the vast grasslands of Guyuan County in Hebei Province.

The building had popularly been known as the Dressing Tower, but archaeological excavations conducted in 1999 revealed that it was, in fact, a mausoleum for members of the Yuan imperial family. The name “Dressing Tower” –shu zhuang lou – was a misinterpretation of the term shu zang lou, or “tree trunk burial”. In the year 2000, further work at the site confirmed that the tomb’s male occupant was Kuolijisi, the fourth leader of the Wanggu tribe; the two women buried with him had both been his wives.

The rulers of the Wanggu Tribe rendered such significant service to Genghis Khan and his successors, that they were granted a rare honour. They would be given imperial princesses as their wives.

The many pieces of glazed materials found in the “Dressing Tower” give an idea of just how gorgeous and magnificent it once was. And yet, someone had deliberately set about destroying it. The question was, were ordinary grave robbers responsible, or was there a more sinister motive behind the tomb’s destruction?

A popular historical misconception ultimately led to the discovery of the only known burial site of members of the Yuan imperial family. The tombs around the “Dressing Tower” are a rich source of information concerning the traditions, etiquette and clothing associated with Yuan Dynasty funerals, as well as the way tombs were constructed. Research in the area has also filled a number of blanks, regarding the history of the Yuan Dynasty.

Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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