Tian Yi

Last updated
Tian Yi
Shaanxi Province
Died1605 (aged 72)
NationalityMing Empire
OccupationImperial court eunuch
Known forrespected for his character and ethics

Tian Yi (simplified Chinese : ; traditional Chinese : ; pinyin : Tián , 1534 - 1605) was a eunuch serving at the imperial court of the Ming Dynasty. He served under the Jiajing, the Longqing, and the Wanli emperors for a total of 63 years [1] and eventually rose to a high position in the court, overseeing the Directorate of Ceremonies ("Master of the Seal in charge of rituals [2] ) which ranked first among the twelve eunuch directorates. [3] By the time of this death, he had become the favorite eunuch of the Wanli emperor. [4]

Tian Yi was born in Shaanxi Province [3] and was castrated at age 9. [1] He entered the imperial court immediately afterwards. [1] When he died in 1605, the Wanli Emperor ordered three days of mourning [1] [4] and the construction of a tomb with many features of an imperial mausoleum to commemorate him. [1] [4]


Tian Yi's tomb (Chinese : ; pinyin : Tián ) has a traditional layout in which a spirit way serves as a central axis and a division between a front portion used by visitors to pay their respects and a closed off back portion. [3] Four eunuchs, who lived at the tomb as monks during the Qing dynasty are buried next to Tian Yi. [3]

The tomb is particularly rich in stone carvings. [1] [3] The masonry artworks include three gates (front gate, Lingxing gate, and the graveyard gate), sculptures that line the spirit way, steles, ceremonial vessels, and stone altars for sacrifices. [3] The names of 259 eunuchs who participated in his funeral are also inscribed at the tomb. [1]

The tomb was looted during the period of the Republic of China. [4] Today, it houses the Eunuch Museum, the address is 80 Moshikou Street, Shijingshan district, Beijing.

Related Research Articles

Forbidden City Art museum, Imperial Palace, Historic site in Beijing, China

The Forbidden City is a palace complex in Dongcheng District, Beijing, China, and with a total area of 720,000 square meters, it is the largest palace in the world. However, other Chinese imperial residences far exceed it in size, namely the 6.1 square kilometer Zhongnanhai which lies just west of the Forbidden City, the 2.9 square kilometer Summer Palace in Haidian District, Beijing, and the 5.6 square kilometer Chengde Mountain Resort in Chengde, Hebei Province. It lies at the center of the Imperial City of Beijing, and the city is built around the palace complex. It is surrounded by numerous opulent imperial gardens and temples including 54-acre Zhongshan Park, the sacrificial Imperial Ancestral Temple, the 171-acre Beihai Park and the 57-acre Jingshan Park.

Longqing Emperor 13th Emperor of the Ming dynasty

The Longqing Emperor, personal name Zhu Zaiji (朱載坖), was the 13th Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1567 to 1572. He was initially known as the Prince of Yu (裕王) from 1539 to 1567 before he became the emperor. His era name, Longqing, means "great celebration".

Wanli Emperor

The Wanli Emperor, personal name Zhu Yijun, was the 14th Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1572 to 1620. "Wanli", the era name of his reign, literally means "ten thousand calendars". He was the third son of the Longqing Emperor. His reign of 48 years (1572–1620) was the longest among all the Ming dynasty emperors and it witnessed several successes in his early and middle reign, followed by the decline of the dynasty as the Emperor withdrew from his active role in government around 1600.

Taichang Emperor 15Th Emperor of the Ming dynasty

The Taichang Emperor, personal name Zhu Changluo, was the 15th Emperor of the Ming dynasty. He was the eldest son of the Wanli Emperor and succeeded his father as emperor in 1620. However, his reign came to an abrupt end less than one month after his coronation when he was found dead one morning in the palace following a bout of diarrhea. He was succeeded by his son, Zhu Youjiao, who was enthroned as the Tianqi Emperor. His era name, Taichang, means "grand prosperity." His reign was the shortest in Ming history.

Ming tombs

The Ming tombs are a collection of mausoleums built by the emperors of the Ming dynasty of China. The first Ming emperor's tomb is located near his capital Nanjing. However, the majority of the Ming tombs are located in a cluster near Beijing and collectively known as the Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty. They are located within the suburban Changping District of Beijing Municipality, 42 kilometers (26 mi) north-northwest of Beijing's city center. The site, on the southern slope of Tianshou Mountain, was chosen based on the principles of feng shui by the third Ming emperor, the Yongle Emperor. After the construction of the Imperial Palace in 1420, the Yongle Emperor selected his burial site and created his own mausoleum. The subsequent emperors placed their tombs in the same valley.

Nanjing Museum History museum, art museum in Nanjing, China

The Nanjing Museum is located in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province in East China. With an area of 70,000 square metres, it is one of the largest museums in China. The museum has over 400,000 items in its permanent collection, making it one of the largest in China. Especially notable is the museum's enormous collections of Ming and Qing imperial porcelain, which is among the largest in the world.

Ming Xiaoling

The Ming Xiaoling is the mausoleum of the Hongwu Emperor, the founder of the Ming dynasty. It lies at the southern foot of Purple Mountain, located east of the historical centre of Nanjing. Legend says that in order to prevent robbery of the tomb, 13 identical processions of funeral troops started from 13 city gates to obscure the real burying site.

Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties is the designation under which the UNESCO has included several tombs and burial complexes into the list of World Heritage Sites (WHS). These tombs date from the Ming and Qing dynasties of China.

Gate of China, Beijing

The Gate of China was a historical ceremonial gateway in Beijing, China, located near the center of latter-day Tiananmen Square. It was demolished in 1954. This gate formed the southern gate of the Imperial City during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It was situated on the central axis of Beijing, to the north of Zhengyang Gate, and south of Tiananmen. Unlike these two defensive gates, the Gate of China was a purely ceremonial gateway, with no ramparts, but was a brick-stone structure with three gateways.

Embroidered Uniform Guard

The Embroidered Uniform Guard was the imperial secret police that served the emperors of the Ming dynasty in China. The guard was founded by the Hongwu Emperor in 1368 to serve as his personal bodyguards. In 1369 it became an imperial military body. They were given the authority to overrule judicial proceedings in prosecutions with full autonomy in arresting, interrogating and punishing anyone, including nobles and the emperor's relatives.

Ming Palace

The Ming Palace, also known as the "Forbidden City of Nanjing", was the 14th-century imperial palace of the early Ming dynasty, when Nanjing was the capital of China.

The history of the Forbidden City begins in the early-15th century when it was built as the palace of the Ming emperors of China. It is located in the centre of Beijing, China, and was the Chinese imperial palace from the early-Ming dynasty in 1420 to the end of the Qing dynasty in 1912, continuing to be home of the last emperor Puyi until 1924, since when it has been a museum.

Eastern Qing tombs Imperial mausoleum complex of the Qing dynasty

The Eastern Qing tombs are an imperial mausoleum complex of the Qing dynasty located in Zunhua, 125 kilometres (78 mi) northeast of Beijing. They are the largest, most complete, and best preserved extant mausoleum complex in China. Altogether, five emperors, 15 empresses, 136 imperial concubines, three princes, and two princesses of the Qing dynasty are buried here. Surrounded by Changrui Mountain, Jinxing Mountain, Huanghua Mountain, and Yingfei Daoyang Mountain, the tomb complex stretches over a total area of 80 square kilometres (31 sq mi).

The House of Zhu, also known as the House of Chu, was the imperial family of the Ming dynasty of China. Zhu was the family name of the emperors of the Ming dynasty. The House of Zhu ruled China from 1368 until the fall of the Ming dynasty in 1644, followed by the rule as the Southern Ming dynasty until 1662, and the last Ming princes, the Prince of Ningjing Zhu Shugui and Prince Zhu Honghuan (朱弘桓) held out until the annexation of the Kingdom of Tungning in 1683.

Que (tower)

The que is a freestanding, ceremonial gate tower in traditional Chinese architecture. First developed in the Zhou Dynasty, que towers were used to form ceremonial gateways to tombs, palaces and temples throughout pre-modern China down to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). The use of que gateways reached its peak during the Han Dynasty, and today they can often be seen as a component of an architectural ensemble at the graves of high officials during China's Han Dynasty. There are also some que found in front of temples. Richly decorated, they are among the most valuable surviving relics of the sculpture and architecture of that period.

Tomb of the King of Boni

The Tomb of the King of Boni is the tomb of Abdul Majid Hassan, the ruler of Boni, a medieval state on the island of Borneo sometimes considered to be the predecessor of modern Brunei. It and its associated statuary are located in a park at the southern foothills of Tortoise Mountain (Guishan), about 3 km south of the southern gate of the walled city of Nanjing.

Kong Family Mansion

The Kong Family Mansion was the historical residence of the direct descendants of Confucius in the City of Qufu, the hometown of Confucius in Shandong Province, China. The extant structures mainly date from the Ming and Qing dynasties. From the mansion, the family tended to the Confucian sites in Qufu and also governed the largest private rural estate in China. The Kong family was in charge of conducting elaborate religious ceremonies on occasions such as plantings, harvests, honoring the dead, and birthdays. Today, the mansion is a museum and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu".

Eastern Depot or Eastern Bureau was a Ming dynasty spy and secret police agency run by eunuchs. It was created by the Yongle Emperor.

Dingling (Ming)

The Dingling is a mausoleum in China where the Wanli emperor, together with his two empresses Wang Xijie and Dowager Xiaojing, was buried. Dingling is one of the thirteen imperial tombs at Ming tombs in Changping district 45 km north of central Beijing. The Dingling is the only tomb of a Ming dynasty emperor that has been opened.

Zhu Changxun (1586–1641) was the third son of the Ming dynasty Wanli Emperor. His mother, Noble Consort Zheng, was a favoured concubine and, in efforts to please her, the emperor attempted to have Zhu made heir apparent, but failed to overturn the rule of primogeniture. After the fall of the Ming, however, Zhu's son, Zhu Yousong, became emperor of the Southern Ming.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 King, Mary (2009-12-02). "The World's Only Eunuch Museum". Beginner's Beijing. CRIENGLISH.com. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  2. Liu, Eleanor (March 26, 2011). The Red Thread. Xlibris Corporation. p. 353. ISBN   978-1-45687-585-5.[ self-published source? ]
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Ming Tombs - Eunuch Tian Yi". Orion South Ltd. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Moore, Malcolm (18 October 2012). "Away from the desk: the world's only eunuch museum". Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 4 January 2013.