Dingling Museum's collections come from articles unearthed from this underground palace. They are not only beautiful, they represent a valuable resource for studying Ming court life and Ming craftsmanship.
In May of 1956, archaeologists found the entryway to the underground palace at a depth of 27 meters. This was called the 'gold steel wall' gate and it stands 8.8 meters high. In it was a doorway shaped like the Chinese character for man. This entryway was tightly sealed with twenty-three layers of large bricks.
The Dingling tomb construction was begun in 1584 and was finished in 1590.
The cost of construction was said to be eight million Liang of gold; it stands on 18 hectares of land.
The main buildings are built along an axis that includes a stone bridge, steal tower, gates, halls, tower, surrounding wall and the underground palace hall.
The surface buildings were destroyed several times by fire, so except for the minglou, banding, wall, and underground palace which have been relatively well preserved, only traces remain of the other buildings.
The rear chamber was the main part of the palace.
Three coffins lay here, with Zhu Xianjun in the middle and his two empresses on either side.
Twenty-six red lacquered cases were set around the coffin, holding some 3,000 items made of gold, silver, gems, ceramics, jades, and fabric, all to accompany the burial.
They are not only beautiful, they represent a valuable resource for studying Ming court life and Ming craftsmanship.