image: histories mysteries. The Russian pyramid investigator Maxim Yakovenko has visited several Chinese pyramid complexes and has finally been able to identify the legendary “White Pyramid” as the Liangshan Mountain, which holds the tomb of Emperor Gaozong. As such, decades of speculation and mystery have finally been answered.
The story of the White Pyramid came about in the 1940s, when eyewitness reports, specifically from pilot James Gaussman, related the presence of an enormous “White Pyramid” near the Chinese city of Xi’an. If true, it was bigger than the Great Pyramid of Giza. The region was off-limits to Western tourists for many decades afterwards and once this restriction was lifted, many pyramids were found, but the gigantic “White Pyramid” was not amongst them. A photograph of what was believed to be the White Pyramid, turned out to be one of a much smaller pyramid near Xi’an.
So what was the White Pyramid? Had someone overestimated the dimensions of a smaller pyramid? The answer is a simple no. The photograph had nothing to do with the original account of the White Pyramid, and this is where the main problem has lain in recent years. The actual White Pyramid is Liangshan Mountain and it is as big as Gaussman and others had claimed it was.
Liangshan Mountain is located in the vicinity of Qiang Xian, a small Chinese town located 80 km to the northwest from Xi’an. In 684 AD, the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty Gaozong was buried at the bottom of the mountain with his wife the Empress Wu. She reigned after Gaozong’s death. When she died in 705 AD, her body was buried near Gaozong’s on Liangshan Mountain. It is the only mausoleum where two Tang monarchs were buried.
Just above is the only pyramid looking image I found when searching google images for Liangshan. Is this the only image that has slipped past the censors? What is this thumbnail an image of?
Another site which had the photo below says:
All the pyramids I know of are situated in the Qin Chuan plains, and differ in size from between 25 to 100 metres in height. All except one, that is. To the north, in the valley of Qin Lin, lies what has become known as the Great White Pyramid. It is immense, approximately 300 metres in height (1000 feet)! I would say this is the mother of all Chinese pyramids.
Returning to the story:
The Qianling mausoleum incorporates 17 attendant tombs, including the tombs of Princess Yongtai, Prince Zhanghuai and Prince Yide. Twenty stone sculptures guard the emperor and his wife from evil spirits and enemies. They line the way to the burial place, guarding it with unusual long swords. Behind the guards there is a reconstructed gate, built from clay, but finished with bricks. Next are two large statues of mythical monsters. Building the mausoleum and the inner chambers was an enormous accomplishment, but my research is primarily focused on the mountain where the emperor was buried, as this is the legendary White Pyramid.
Liangshan is listed as a natural mountain that consists of three peaks. The two southern peaks are approximately the same size, but the northern peak is much taller and bigger. The two southern peaks consist of soil (so-called “central Chinese clay soil”, which is 30% clay, 35% clay elements and almost 40% limestone), but it is the northern peak that is the highest and consists of huge, almost straight stone plates which lie on the clay.
A key account about the “White Pyramid” – though it had not yet received its name at the time – in the vicinity of Xi’an was given by Alfred Schroeder in 1912: “The pyramid is about 1,000 feet high (other descriptions estimate 1,000 to 1,200 feet high) and roughly 1,500 feet at the base, which makes it twice as large as any pyramid in Egypt. The four faces of the structure are oriented with the compass points.” This observation conforms to what we have seen on the ground about Liangshan Mountain: it is a colossal pyramid, with four visible sides, holding the tomb of emperor Gaozong. It is difficult to determine the height of the pyramid. If measured from the platform with the twenty guards, the height is 160 meters; if measured from the base of the pyramid, the height is about 300 meters, or ca. 1,000 feet!
Schroeder also wrote: “Each side of the pyramid was of a different color: the northern side was black, the eastern blue, the southern red and the western side had a tint of white. The flat top of the pyramid was covered with yellow soil (clay).” Why did Schroeder describe each side of the pyramid as having a different color? The answer is the condition of the surface of the pyramid. The northern side of the pyramid is the most damaged by human activity. There are many modern man-made terraces and peasant gardens; therefore this side looks like a long slope of a natural hill. Since this side does not face the sun, the terraces have dark-grey color, conform to what Schroeder referred to as black.
The eastern side is planted by coniferous trees having a tint of blue and green colors. The southern side was also damaged by local inhabitants and revealed the yellowish color of the clay, or for Schroeder, red. The western side of the pyramid is white because it is covered by massive stone blocks, in grey and white colors. It is this side, together with the light yellow of the top, which created the story of “the White Pyramid”.
In fact, a long time ago, the entire pyramid was covered by massive white stone plates, even though the core structure of the pyramid is from pressed clay, conform to the other pyramids of Shaanxi province. But these massive plates slipped to the foot of the pyramid, the result of natural forces such as earthquakes and rain. Only on the western side did the plates remain relatively intact. …