The Sacred Way

Beijing, China


Great Red Gate

Shen Gong Stele Pavilion

The Sacred Way (1)

The Sacred Way (2)

Chang Ling (1)

Chang Ling (2)

Ding Ling

MingTombs Museum


Beijing Guide

The Sacred Way

Leading to imperial tombs, there is usually a Sacred Way, which means 'the road leading to heaven'. The emperor, known as the Son of the Heaven, would return to Heaven through this road. Among the many Sacred Ways, the one at the Ming Tombs is the best preserved and most complete.

The Sacred Way (Shen Dao) is not to be missed. The path, slightly curved to fool evil spirits, is lined on either side with willows and remarkable carved stone animals and human figures, considered among the best in China.

The statuary along the Sacred Way includes pairs of camels, lions, elephants, and mythical beasts, such as the qilin, a creature of immense virtue referred to as the 'chinese unicorn' even though it has two horns.

The stone statues along the Sacred Way are important decorations of the mausoleum that form a guard of honor. These statues are usually 12 human figures (including the general, civil officials and meritorious officials) and 24 animals.

The Sacred Way (2)