Among all the museums in China, the National Museum of China and the Palace Museum have the largest scale and the most abundant collections. Today I will introduce you some of the treasures of the National Museum of China, the Palace Museum and the Dingling Museum.
The National Museum of China, the Forbidden City Museum and the Dingling Museum hold a series of national treasures unearthed in the Dingling Tombs of the Thirteen Ming Tombs in Beijing. One of the most beautiful is the phoenix crown worn by the Empress. By visiting these beautiful phoenix crowns, the audience can feel the affluence and prosperity of the Ming Dynasty. People could not help but envy the esteem and glory that the Empress received, but behind all this luxury was the heartbreaking and tragic lives of two women.
Let's enjoy these luxurious national treasures unearthed from the Ming Dingling Tomb while listening to my story of the dusty past.
Queen Xiaoduan's phoenix crown
This phoenix crown is a nine-dragon, nine-phoenix crown. The phoenix crown is 48.5 cm high, 27 cm crown height, 23.7 cm diameter, and weighs 2,320 grams. The full crown has a total of 115 red and sapphire stones, and 4414 precious stones.
At the top of the crown are nine dragons welded with gold wire stacking process, which are hollowed out and very three-dimensional, with different forms of these dragons, either rising with their heads up or bowing to fly; at the bottom of the dragons are nine emerald phoenixes with wings flying. Jade phoenix is made of blue feathers of kingfisher as well as pearls and red and blue stones. The dragon and the phoenix are mouth with drops of pearls; the lower part of the phoenix crown is decorated with bead flowers, each bead flower embedded with 1 to 9 pieces of gemstones, each piece of gemstones around a circle or two circles of pearls. The edge of the crown is set with a combination of red satin and gold bars, and the middle of the cap is embedded with a combination of gemstones and bead flowers, each bead flower decorated with 6 pearls.
The three dragons and two phoenix crowns of Empress Dowager Xiaojing
This crown with three dragons and two phoenixes is now in the National Palace Museum. There are three golden dragons, a pair of emerald phoenixes, inlaid with a total of 95 pieces of rubies and sapphires, and 3,426 pearls.
All of these beautiful phoenix crowns were unearthed in the Ding Tombs, one of the Thirteen Ming Tombs in Beijing. In the afternoon of October 20, 1957, staff from the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences finally opened the heavy stone tomb door of the Ding Tombs. In the back chamber, the archaeologists found three coffins belonging to Emperor Wanli, Empress Xiaoduan, and Empress Dowager Xiaojing, who was later posthumously named Empress Dowager by Emperor Tianqi. Archaeologists later cleared 2,648 exquisite artifacts from 29 storage boxes in the burial chamber, which included textiles, gold and silver, porcelain, wood, lacquer, jade and other types of artifacts. Most of them are beautifully made and are considered rare treasures.
In each of the four storage boxes is a hexagonal vermilion lacquer box, which contains four such phoenix crowns. At that time, the phoenix crowns were scattered with pearls and emeralds, and the archaeologists, through serious and careful efforts, restored one each of three dragons and two phoenixes, twelve dragons and nine phoenixes, nine dragons and nine phoenixes, and six dragons and three phoenixes. They show the incomparably high precious metal processing and silk weaving techniques of the late Ming Dynasty.
These phoenix crowns are made of lacquered bamboo tied into a hat tire and high grade silk as the fabric. The golden dragon on top is made of very fine gold silk using pile, base, braid, weave and other flower silk process; the phoenix and bead flower are made of gold and silver pieces to make the skeleton of the pattern, with gold silk in the edge of the pattern welded out of the fine groove, then in the fine groove dipped in the blue feathers of the kingfisher to make the pattern more three-dimensional effect and rich layers. This process is known as "kingfisher spotting". Finally, gems and pearls are pasted or inlaid. The phoenix crown made in Ming Dynasty is still colorful and magnificent after 400 to 500 years of erosion, as if it was just made.
These four phoenix crowns belonged to the two empresses of the Wanli Emperor, Empress Xiaoduan and Empress Xiaojing. Don't look at these two queens after death to enjoy the highest courtesy, the scenery is unlimited. In fact, when they were alive, they suffered a lot of aggression and bullying, and never enjoyed a trace of the joy of motherhood.
In 1572, when Ming Emperor Mu Zong Zhu Zaihao (hòu) died, Zhu Yijun, who was only 10 years old, assumed the throne under the name of "Wanli", and was known as the Wanli Emperor. In 1577, the Empress Dowager Cixing, who was eager for her grandson, personally selected an empress for her son Zhu Yijun. In 1578, at the age of thirteen, Wang Xi Sister and Zhu Yijun, who was fourteen years old, were formally married and named Empress. She was crowned Empress. Four years later, Empress Wang gave birth to a daughter, Zhu Xuanzheng, for the Wanli Emperor.
In the meantime, the fate of the young court lady who served the Empress Dowager also took a turn. one day in 1581, the young and vigorous Zhu Yijun met 16-year-old Wang Shurong while visiting the Empress Dowager. The young courtesan had already grown into a big girl and had become a pavilion. The first time I saw the woman, I was afraid to resist, and I didn't dare to tell anyone afterwards. The woman's belly grew bigger day by day and was finally noticed by the Empress Dowager. Under the Queen Mother's repeated questioning, Wang Shurong finally told the truth. The Empress Dowager, who was looking forward to having her grandchildren, was so happy that she immediately called her son to verify. But Zhu Yijun despised the little court lady and simply denied it. But fortunately, there is the "Notes on the Rise and Fall", which recorded everything the emperor did every day, including eating, drinking, pooping, and scattering, in a clear manner. In the face of conclusive evidence, Zhu Yijun finally admitted his absurd behavior. The Empress Dowager did not blame her son and asked him to treat the young courtesan well and give her a formal name. 1582, the Wanli Emperor reluctantly sealed Wang Shurong as Gongfei. On August 11 of the same year, Wang Gongfei gave birth to a boy, the eldest son of the concubine, Zhu Changluo. The Wanli Emperor was suppressed by Zhang Juzheng from the time he became emperor, so he subconsciously resented being told what to do. He thought that Wang Gongfei always took the empress to suppress him, so from the bottom of his heart did not like them mother and son.
In 1581, the Emperor Wanli, who had been married for more than three years and had not yet had a son, was anxious, and the Empress Dowager and the ministers were even more anxious. Under the auspices of the Empress Dowager and Zhang Juzheng, a nationwide casting for the Wanli Emperor was held again. A girl named Zheng Mengjing was chosen, who was not only beautiful but also lively in nature. She was not as respectful as his concubines and did not dare to take a breath when she saw the emperor. She dared to look directly at the emperor, see the emperor fell generous, laughing and laughing, and also from time to time to make jokes about the emperor. Perhaps it was this way of getting along without inferiority and equality that fascinated Emperor Wanli, who soon fell in love with Zheng Mengjing. Since Zheng Mengjing entered the palace, the Emperor lost interest in other concubines in the harem and accompanied Zheng Mengjing day and night. He named Zheng Mengjing as Imperial Consort. Zheng Guifei gave birth to three sons and three daughters for Zhu Yijun. Since Zheng Guifei gave birth to the third prince Zhu Changxu, Queen Wang and Wang Gongfei had a hard time.
Since giving birth to her only daughter, Empress Wang never gave birth to another child due to health reasons and Zhu Yijun's intentional distancing. A woman without a son has no status in ancient times, moreover it is still in the royal family. Although Empress Wang was the Empress, she did not have any say in the harem and no one took her seriously. She was also self-aware and kept a low profile, living a life of no desire. In 1620, Empress Wang died at the age of 57 after a lifetime of depression. The posthumous name "Empress Xiaoduan", first Zhu Yijun buried in the Dingling Mausoleum, burial goods include nine dragons and nine phoenixes and six dragons and three phoenixes crown.
The emperor gave birth to his son, Zheng Guifei, backed by Zhu Yijun, in the harem as if he was the master of the six palaces. She is determined to make her son Zhu Changxu become the crown prince, but the ministers for the throne heir to uphold the traditional attitude of "first, first, no first, first", many people support Wang Gongfei's birth of the eldest son of the concubine Zhu Changluo. But the Wanli emperor supported Zheng Guifei's son Zhu Changxu, and for this issue also and the ministers angry, not to go to court for years to manage. This caused the decline of the Ming Dynasty to accelerate.
Wang Gongfei and her son Zhu Changluo became the thorn in Zheng Guifei's side. She imprisoned Wang Gongfei and her son in Jing Yang Palace for 30 years, not allowing them to meet with the emperor. She not only did not let anyone take care of Wang Gongfei and her son, but also deducted their living materials. Wang Gongfei mother and son named the emperor's family, but living a miserable life than the common people, Zhu Changluo due to malnutrition since childhood, grew up is also sick. Zheng Guifei always in front of the Wanli Emperor slander and sarcasm Wang Gongfei, the Wanli Emperor also did not stop, the heart of Wang Gongfei mother and son more hateful. Later, his son Zhu Changluo was taken by the Empress Dowager and Queen Wang to raise, Wang Gongfei was imprisoned alone in the Palace of Jingyang, living a prisoner-like life.
In 1601, after 15 years of stalemate with the ministers over the issue of the crown prince, the Wanli Emperor finally agreed to make Zhu Changluo the crown prince. But Wang Gongfei's situation still has not improved a bit. She was still imprisoned in Jingyang Palace, and was not allowed to see her son for 10 years. She missed her son very much and spent the whole day in tears, due to years of crying and malnutrition, resulting in her crying blind. It was not until 1611, when she was about to die, that the Wanli emperor let him meet with his son. The mother and son cried together, and Empress Wang breathed her last at the age of 46.
After the death of Wang Gongfei, Wanli Emperor also did not put her funeral in mind, the funeral was delayed again and again, until a year later when the body decayed, only in the thirteen mausoleum tomb area on the left side of the East well of the Pinggang ground hastily buried, and buried with very few goods, in addition to the few silk fabrics, only a few silver ingots and a seal Gongfei, the silver pot rewarded.
In 1620, the Wanli Emperor died and Zhu Changluo became the emperor. He wanted to move his mother into the Dingling Tomb, but Zhu Changluo's health was too poor and he died after only 20 days as emperor. After his son Ming Xizong ascended to the throne, the first thing he did was to posthumously crown his grandmother as Empress Dowager Xiaojing, also known as Empress Xiaojing. Then moved his grandmother into the Dingling Mausoleum and the Wanli Emperor and Empress Xiaoduan were buried together. And supplemented with three boxes of burial goods, which, a box with the Queen Xiaojing wooden posthumous book and posthumous treasure, a box put three dragons two phoenix crown a top, as well as jade belt, jade pendant, jade Valley Gui, gold base silk pearl cape, gold incense smoke and other things, another box put twelve dragons nine phoenix crown a top, the Lord of God sacrificial offering in Fengci Hall.
Today when people appreciate these beautiful relics in the National Museum of China, the National Palace Museum or the Dingling Museum, they will surely marvel at the prosperity of the Ming Dynasty, but who could have imagined that behind these relics there were two queens with such a tragic fate, just as the saying goes: "Pity the poor beauty is always thin, the most heartless emperor's family. The two queens behind these relics had such a tragic fate.
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