The Qianling Mausoleum is a Tang Dynasty (618–907) tomb site located in Qian County, in Shaanxi province, China, and is 85 km (53 miles) northwest from Xi'an, which was Tang capital. Built by 684 (with additional construction until 706), the tombs of the mausoleum complex houses the remains of various members of the royal Li family. This includes Emperor Gaozong of Tang (r. 649–683), as well as his wife, the Zhou Dynasty usurper and China's first (and only) governing empress Wu Zetian (r. 690–705). The mausoleum is renowned for its many Tang Dynasty stone statues located above ground and the mural paintings adorning the subterranean walls of the tombs. Besides the main tumulus mound and underground tomb of Gaozong and Wu Zetian, there is a total of 17 smaller attendant tombs or peizang mu. Presently, only 5 of these attendant tombs have been excavated by archaeologists, three belonging to members of the royal family, one to a chancellor of China, and the other to a general of the left guard.
The mausoleum is located on Mount Liang, north of the Wei River, and 1,049 m (3,442 ft) above sea level. The grounds of the mausoleum are flanked by Leopard Valley to the east and Sand Canyon to the west. Although there are tumulus mounds to demarcate where each tomb is located, most of the tomb structures are subterranean. The tumulus mounds on the southern peaks are called Naitoshan or "Nipple Hills", due to their resemblance to the shape of nipples.The Nipple Hills, with towers erected on the top of each to accentuate the hills' name, form a sort of gateway into Qianling Mausoleum.
Leading into the mausoleum is a spirit path, which is flanked on both sides with stone statues like the later tombs of the Song Dynasty and Ming Dynasty Tombs. The Qianling statues include horses, winged horses, horses with grooms, lions, ostriches, officials, and foreign envoys.
The tombs thus far excavated for Li Xian, Li Chongrun, and Li Xianhui are all decorated with mural paintings and feature multiple shaft entrances and arched chambers.The tomb of Li Xian also features real fully-stone doors, a tomb trend apparent in the Han and Western Jin Dynasties that became more common by the time of the Northern Qi.