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Yu Mausoleum

Yu Mausoleum, four kilometers southeast of Shaoxing City, Zhejiang Province, was built to commemorate Yu, the last chief of the tribal alliance of China's late primitive society. Yu, who was also known as Yu the Great, Xia Yu or Rong Yu, was once the chief of the Xia Tribe. Because of his success in preventing floods by controlling water flows he was made chief of the tribal alliance by Shun. He was said to have led the people in developing agriculture by dredging the rivers and constructing irrigation ditches.


During his thirteen years of preventing floods he didn't see his family, though he passed by his house three times. He was much respected by the people. There are many temples built in honoring him in the country, but the most believable is Yu Mausoleum in Shaoxing. According to "Xia's Origin" in the Records of the Historian, "Some people said that Yu the Great had held counsel with all princes in the south and granted them titles by the merit of their achievement. After that he died there and the place where he was buried was therefore called Huiji."


The Book of Mo Tzu has almost the same story: "Yu died in his eastward trip to Jiuyi and was buried in Huiji Mountain." This story, then, has prevailed so far.


Yu Mausoleum is located in front of Huiji Mountain and behind the Yu Pool and Tingshan Mountain. In front of the mausoleum is a stone archway. In the place of former mausoleum and halls destroyed was a Tablet Pavilion to honor Yu, reconstructed in 1979. Inside the pavilion is a huge tablet on which ''Mausoleum of Yu the Great" by Nan Daji of the Ming Dynasty is inscribed.


There are green and luxuriant old Chinese scholar trees, pines and bamboo groves around the Tablet Pavilion. To the south of the Tablet Pavilion is a pavilion built by archaeologists investigating and identifying the tomb. On the left of the mausoleum is the Memorial Temple of Yu, known among those built in his memory throughout the country. It is said that Yu's two sons, Xia Qi and Shao Kang, once built temples here, but no evidence of them has been found.


The existing temple was at first built in the early period of the Southern Dynasty (502-557) and has been repaired and rebuilt through the ages, but most existing structures were built in the Qing Dynasty. The main buildings are the Meridian Gate, Sacrificial Hall and Main Hall. The whole complex is placed in position of harmony with the rising and falling mountain slopes.


The main hall with double eaves is located on a high terrace with many steps. It is 24 meters high and was rebuilt in the architectural style of the Qing Dynasty in 1934. Before the Meridian Gate is Yu's Pavilion in which Yu's Tablet was reinscribed in the Ming Dynasty. The tablet itself was said to have been made at the time Yu prevented floods. There are more than 70 characters in the inscription, but the characters are unique seals and cannot be deciphered.


To the south of the Temple of Yu is the Burial Stone Pavilion in which a circular tapered burial stone containing a round hole stands. It is about two meters high and is said to have been used in Yu's burial ceremony. There are several kinds of inscription dating from the Han Dynasty on it, but it is difficult to determine whether the burial stone really dates to Yu's time. The whole mausoleum is solemn and the structure is exquisite.

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