A Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) tomb found in the Sanshan area of Nanjing's suburbs is that of the Princess Qingbao, youngest daughter of Zhu Yuanzhang, founder of the Ming Dynasty. The tomb had been broken into, but archaeologists found a stele carved with Princess Qingbao's title and name.
The cliff where the tomb was found
The tomb is on a hill surrounded by shrubs. The entrance of the tomb had been smashed. "The tomb was built with bricks and divided into two rooms, altogether 10 meters long, big by the standards of the Ming Dynasty. It's a shame that grave robbers got there before us," said archaeologists.
The stele is now in the Nanjing Municipal Museum. A slab found under the stele was inscribed with Princess Qingbao's biography. She was the 16th and youngest daughter of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Ming Emperor. The surname of her mother is given as Zhang, but the biography also describes her as the daughter of Empress Ma. Archaeologists explained that Empress Ma died 13 years before Princess Qingbao was born, but because after Ma died no official empress was appointed by the Emperor, all his subsequent sons and daughters were referred to as sons and daughters of Empress Ma.
The slate named the location of Princess Qingbao's tomb as Guangze township. So archaeologists guess this place was named Guangze in the Ming Dynasty.
An expert said the tomb of Princess Qingbao's husband Zhao Hui was discovered in 1995 in the same area. As a rule in the Ming Dynasty princesses and their husbands were not buried together, but in tombs not far away from each other, so archaeologists had surmised the tomb of the princess would be somewhere in the vicinity.
After hearing that archaeologists had found Princess Qingbao's tomb, a villager who had found the stele of Zhao Hui's tomb on the hill 20 years ago donated it to the museum. Archaeologists said the colorful glazed decorations on his tomb would only be seen on the tombs of upper-class people in the Ming dynasty.
According to the Ming Dynasty History, Princess Qingbao was just 4 years old when her father, Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, died. She was raised by her brother Zhu Di, the second Ming Emperor. She married Zhao Hui when she was 19. According to the records, her husband was personally selected by her brother. Because of her special relationship with her brother the Emperor, Princess Qingbao was given a much larger dowry than other princesses.
Princess Qingbao died when she was 39 but Zhao Hui lived to the age of 90.