Tomb Shihuangdi: An Emperor's Elaborate Burial Place

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What was the emperor's purpose for such an elaborate burial place? On the surface, there is no mystery as to why an emperor would construct an elaborate burial place. People in positions of power with access to the means by which to create commemorative places, spaces, and objects to preserve their memory and immortality will execute their desires simply because they can. Moreover, the creation of an ancestral tomb is in keeping with prevailing Chinese practices and worldviews. As Moskowitz (2012) puts it, Emperor Qin Shi Huang was buried in "the most opulent tomb complex ever constructed in China, a sprawling, city-size collection of underground caverns containing everything the emperor would need for the afterlife." Perhaps a more fruitful question would be, why wouldn't the emperor build such an elaborate tomb? From a physical archaeological standpoint, the best question might be related to how the tomb was built and not why. One of the mysteries related to the tomb is the fact that "instead of burying his armies, concubines, administrators and servants with him, the Qin emperor came up with an alternative: clay reproductions," (Moskowitz, 2012). The Emperor was the "first" in China, which is meaningful from a historical perspective and probably underwrote his decision to create a tomb as extensive and elaborate as Qin Shi Huang's. "Through a combination of military strength, strategy and natural disasters, Qin Shi Huang conquered them all, proclaiming himself not just

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