Leitai Tomb in Wuwei

Leitai (The Thunder Platform) stands out of the north gate of Wuwei City. It is rammed earth with the length of 106 m from south to north, the width of 60 m from east to west and the height of 8. 5 m. Originally named Ling Jun Platform, it was built by Zhang Mao, emperor of the Liang Empire.

When Tianshui emperor of the Ming Dynasty was in power, Taoist architecture like the Temple of the God of Thunder was built on iti therefore it was named Leitai, the Thunder Platform in English since then. The Temple of the God of Thunder was destroyed in the early Qing Dynasty and rebuilt when Kang Xi was in power. The serious earthquake of Wuwei in 1927 witnessed the destruction of many other buildings. The lofty and grand buildings like Tripler-star palace, the Palace of the God of Thunder, the Plough palace, the cultural relics, Halls and the corridors enjoy special protection as Cultural Relics.

A grave of Han Dynasty was buried under the platform when it was rammed in the Liang Dynasty. The grave was recovered under a big pagoda tree in October of 1969 by a peasant. It is the famous Han Grave of the Thunder Platform. This is the entrance to the grave. It is a big grave of little bricks with multiple coffin chambers. It is as long as 40 m from the entrance to the back coffin chamber, with pictures of trees of colored drawing on each wall of the passing c6rridor. The front chamber is equipped with side chambers to each side, the middle chamber is equipped with side chamber only on its right and the back chamber is equipped with none. The ceilings of all the chambers were vaulted with the picture of lotus painted in red gray and white in the middle of which is inlaid a square brick. The painting of diamond formation could be found on the walls of the grave.

A couple was buried under the grave. The owner of the grave is a certain general Zhang. When the grave was discovered, two stealing holes were found. That is to say the grave was broken into twice before it was uncovered. But abundant remains can also be found. 231 items of gold, silver, copper, iron, jade, bone, stoner pottery and lacquer were unearthed. At the same time, 20, 000 copper coins were scattered on the grounds of various coffin chambers. Among all the items are copper carts and horses, copper figurines and copper appliances with high artistic and technological values.

A series of beautiful and exquisite copper carts and horses and copper figurine were set in the front chamber and its side chambers. Among the fourteen copper carts are six light carts, seven big carts and one ox cart. The design of the light carts are quite exquisite the front part of both shafts are crooked which makes it easier to get balance, the front part of the cage is covered to protect the ones on the cart, covered the cart is a vaulted canopy to shelter the passengers from rain. The shafts of the big carts are warped up and the cages are rectangular in shape. Doors are set to the back of the cage to make it convenient for passengers to get on and off. There are 39 vigorous and graceful copper horses. All the copper horses are painted and decorated with the line in a carpenter's ink marker. All the horses are equipped and well-collared. Some of the horses are pulling carts and some others are just carrying riders. Some of them are in the mode of running yet others are in the gesture as if they have just stopped running. Some of them are striving forward yet some others just get ready for a long journey. All the copper horses and carts, together with all the copper figurines riding or pulling horses and the ones taking or driving carts, make a grand picture of a general's journey. The picture can probably reflect the life of the owner of the grave. At the same time it can also reflect the etiquettes of taking carts or riding horses of Han Dynasty.

In front of the troop of carts and horses is a leading copper horse which is the world famous Copper Running Horse, the artistic treasure of the world. It is also known as Heaven Horse, the Horse Stepping on a Flying Swallow. The horse is vivid and vigorous with a height of 34. 5 cm and length of 45 cm. The horse raises its head and warps its tail. It looks a little to its left. The soaring three hooves either leap forward or spread backward and the striving back right hoof is stepping on a flying swallow. The mouth and nostril of the horse are slightly open as is to make its rough breath and thundering scream heard. The flying swallow under the hoof spreads its wings and fearfully look backward to reflect the fast speed of the horse. The picture vividly conveys the vigorous running figure of the horse, and furthermore the rich imagination and skill of exaggeration of ancient craftsmen. The design of the copper horse not only conveys romantic sense but also agrees with the principle of dynamic balance. Therefore it is a very valuable artistic treasure. This artistic item has been put on display home and abroad many times. It has become world-famous. The design of the Copper Running Horse conveys the cultural spirit of being vigorous, heroic and diligent. Therefore national travel bureau takes it as the token for China's travel and Wuwei City takes it as the mark of the city.

Besides the copper carts and horses, the two connected colorful lantern are also worth mentioning. One of them is made of twelve lights on three ranks and the other is made of thirteen lights on three ranks. The highest one is 1. 46 m in height which is quite rare among all the unearthed lanterns in Han Dynasty. Besides it, a green glaze pottery watchtower as high in the Han Grave of Thunder platform. As 1. 05 m was also unearthed set on one side of the wall and On each The walls are square in shape. Door is corner is a watchtower. Between the gateway arch and the watchtowers are over line bridges. In the yard is a five-floored building with eaves as decoration. It is a treasure to conduct research on the architecture of Han Dynasty.

The Copper Running Horse has been treasured as national treasure in the Palace Museum. All the other relics unearthed are treasured in the Provincial Museum of Gansu.