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 (traditional Chinese : ; simplified 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] [ self-published source? ] ) 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] Notably, the stone statues of the guards before the tomb both wear the uniforms of officials of the first rank, a sign of exceptional favour from the Emperor.

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.

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  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.
  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.