We’ll start the day with a visit to a cloisonné factory. Cloisonné is an ancient technique for decorating metal objects or ceramics. We will be able to observe the intricate process for making cloisonné, and you will get an appreciation and historical understanding of this delicate art. After a tour, you will be able to browse a dazzling collection of various colors and styles of cloisonné.
After lunch, we'll head to the Ming tombs in a valley south of the Tianshou mountains, about 50km west of Beijing. Nestled among lush hills, with a peaceful river flowing through the center, the valley was carefully chosen in accordance with geomancy principles (Fengshui). Thirteen out of sixteen Ming emperors are buried here, and three of the tombs are open to the public. Enter the valley through the Great Red Gate – one of the largest stone archways in China – and explore the ‘Sacred Way,’ a long path leading to the tombs that is lined with larger-than-life stone sculptures. The belief was that the emperor was the Son of Heaven, and he descended to earth along the Sacred Road – he would leave that way, too. In recognition of their brilliant siting, planning, and design, as well as their unique contribution to historical and cultural understanding, the Ming Tombs (along with the Qing) have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.