Portrait of the Yongle emperor Zhu Di, for whom the Changling Mausoleum was built. Ink and color on silk, by an anonymous painter, Ming dynasty. Zhu Di, who usurped the throne from his nephew, had the Changling Mausoleum built as a way to legitimize his succession to Ming emperorship and Beijing as the true capital of the Ming dynasty.
The Changling Mausoleum is the resting place of the Ming Yongle Emperor (reigned 1403–24), whose given name was Zhu Di and whose posthumous title is Chengzu. At 120,000 square meters, it is one of the grandest and certainly the best preserved of all of the Thirteen Ming Tombs (shisan ling) that lie roughly 45 kilometers north of Beijing in a valley below the Tianshou Mountains.