It helps to know the history of Empress/Emperor Wu Zetian (625-705 AD) before seeing the tombs of Princess Yongtai and Princess Zhang Hua. The first-mentioned princess died (was murdered?) at age 17 after childbirth, supposedly for gossiping about Wu Zetian and her "boy toys." After her death, she was buried in an elaborate underground tomb, whose entryway was decorated with elaborate Tang-period frescoes. It is one of the most impressive of the tombs in the area.
The tomb is approached by a sloping corridor (not for those with problems walking up or down a 10 degree slope); en route to the sepulchre, Tang pottery vases, figures, Sancai horses, and other items showing life during this dynastic period are found in small niches. Some of the original frescoes have been removed (and replicated) and now are in the National Museum. The replicas are fading and flaking away due to humidity. However, they are marvelous, giving a clear picture of women's hairstyles, costumes, court figures, and activities.
The Princess Zhang Hua's tomb close by, is very similar. The approach is longer, but not quite as steep.
A tour of these tombs can easily be combined with a visit to Wu Zetian's Mausoleum (Qianling) where she and her spouse, Emperor Gaozong, are buried.
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