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Emperor Shi Huangdi's Tomb

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 875 words Published: 11th Jul 2018

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There are many mysteries of human civilization’s beginning and its continuing progression. In addition to these mysteries, grand structures from early civilizations still confuse us with their logic and places the method or the reasoning into complete obscurity. A good example of this is the Great Pyramid of Giza, this structure still fascinates the minds of researchers and laymen alike. There are so many other enormous structures which still today provide a debate over among the researchers and academics all over the world. I believe one of the magnificent but still mysterious early structure is the Qin Shi Huangdi’s Mausoleum. With just the vastness of the size of the tomb and all the complicated structures of the tomb portray a great mystery. “The burial mound rises 140 feet above the plain and is estimated to be about 400 feet by 525 feet” (Sayre, 2015, pp. 225-7). In addition to the size of the tomb there is the presence of the terracotta army and the privacy that was upheld in creating of the tomb makes it even more of a mystery, and even today it’s not really clear on what made the emperor come to this idea on having such a complicated and secret burial place.

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According to Sima Qin, an historian for the Han Dynasty adds more mystery to the tomb. Sima Qin is the grand historian and according to him the tomb contained “palaces and scenic towers for a hundred officials, as well as numerous rare artifacts and treasures. In addition, two major rivers of China, the Yangtze and the Yellow River, were simulated in the tomb using mercury” (“The Secret Tomb,” 2015). Additionally, he talks about other important features inside the tomb such as the “rivers and other features of the land were represented on the floor of the tomb, its ceiling was decorated with the heavenly constellations” (“The Secret Tomb,” 2015).

Thus, what could have been behind the real reason to have all of this done? An art researcher Edmund Capon came up with a hypothesis for answering this mystery. Capon believed that the Emperor Shi Huangdi was fearful of his own demise and he fixation on finding the path to immortality (Wolff, 2007). These two factors are what prompted him to construct tomb which would imitate his authority and his greatness during his rule. The Emperor wanted to take all things that would show his authority and power so he took his extravagant army, his key officials and anything else that he would hold precious to him. Because of all of these things according to Capon, is why he built this amazing but still mysterious tomb. If where going to believe Chinese legend, then it could be said that Emperor Shi Huangdi was an alien and his tomb was his so-called spaceship with he would return home with. In the legend, the emperor lived in the mountains of Kunlun and “he is said to have lived for over one hundred years and after his rule he would return to the skies (Skyfloating, 2009). It was written that a cauldron could make a dragon appear from the sky that was metallic in color that could take the Emperor away (“Was the Yellow”, 2016). If this is a legend to be believed than the myth is that the tomb would be a ship that is sealed up and was meant to carry the Emperor away into space.

Between the two theories I would have to say I would go with Capon’s theory about his afterlife would be more believable since it supported by reason and historic accounts. The past tells how the Emperors polices were very cruel and his despotic reign prompted the growth of his enemies most were the lords that he already had conquered, and these lords were organizing assassination attempts on the Emperors life possible at least three times. “The attempts on the emperor life seem to be in response to his fearful though of his demise and wanting to find the path to immortally” (Wolff, 2007). It could be said that Capon’s theory could go along with what some historically events and his theory on why the Emperor would have constructed such a tomb could go along with his reasoning on his thoughts about his demise and his pursuit for immortally.


Sayre, H. M. (2014). The humanities: culture, continuity and change (3rd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 226). Retrieved January 27, 2017, from https://strayer.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781323262153

Skyfloating. (2009). Aliens of Ancient China. Retrieved November 3, 2015, from http://www.thelivingmoon.com/46ats_members/SkyFloating/02files/Aliens_of_Ancient_China.html

The Secret Tomb of the First Chinese Emperor Remains an Unopened Treasure (2015). Ancient Origins. Retrieved November 3, 2015, from http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-asia/secret-tomb-first-chinese-emperor-remains-unopened-treasure-002568

Was the Yellow Emperor an Extraterrestrial? (2016, July 21). Retrieved January 28, 2017, from http://ancientufo.org/2016/07/yellow-emperor-son-heavens/

Wolff, J. (2007). Emperor Qin in the Afterlife. Retrieved November 3, 2015, from https://twp.duke.edu/uploads/assets/2EmperorQin.pdf


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