The ancient Chinese characters above mean to "cut off," and they weren't talking about the electricity! I learned this (and perhaps a bit more information than I needed to know) at Beijing's incredible eunuch mausoleum. Entombed here, in a garden shrine of fantastical carvings, lie the remains of seven royal eunuchs who once served the emperors inside walls of the Forbidden City.

Although the temple cemetery is 400 years old and mostly in ruins, the quality and variety of the sculptures here surpass the grand tombs of their Ming Dynasty masters. These guys were obviously rich and powerful, although I wouldn't care to sacrifice what they did in order to get such plush accommodation for the afterlife.

I don't know how those guys at Purple Dragon manage to find these offbeat places, but I'm really glad they do! Now, if I could just stop dreaming about cleaver-wielding chefs making banana omelets....

Don't work too hard!

-- Raymond

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photographs 2003 by Purple Dragon - all rights reserved