All the emperors of the Ming dynasty, except the first and second ones, were entombed in Beijing. Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor, was buried in Nanjing, and the second one, Emperor Jianwen, was lost in a palace coup, whose whereabouts are unknown. After moving his capital to Beijing, Zhu Di, the third emperor of the Ming dynasty, built not only the Imperial Palace in Beijing, but also his tomb, in which he was to be buried when he died. In the 230 years that followed, all the later Ming emperors had their tombs built on the left and right sides on his tomb. These tombs, located 40 kilometers north of Beijing proper, have become known as the Thirteen Tombs of the Ming dynasty.
The book is illustrated with beautiful photographs to show the style and dimension of these imperial tombs as well as some of the highly valuable artifacts unearthed there. Throughout the pages are true and legendary stories about the life of the emperors, empresses and imperial concubines.