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Notes on the Geography of China: Han and Tang Imperial Tombs: Photo 2

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The hill he described is hardly worth showing now, because it's been "restored" with decorative staircases and a summit pavilion.  At the foot of the hill, however, the boulders Segalen described are now arrayed in an open-air museum.  Among the pieces is this horse, which Segalen saw standing at the foot of the hill and next to a second group of boulders.


It shows a horse standing over a supine body.  That's because the hill marks the underground tomb of General Huo Qubing, who died in 117 B.C. at the age of 24.  In the preceding half-dozen years, he had fought half a dozen successful battles as far west as the Altai Mountains and had opened China's access to the West.  The emperor rewarded him with a tomb close to the site of his own, and he imported boulders so that the tomb would resemble Mt. Qilian, where General Huo had won a famous victory.  The horse stands over a fallen barbarian of the nomadic Xiongnu, a Hun--the Mongols defeated by General Huo.

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