Why is the Tomb of Hai Rui Special?
The Tomb of Hai Rui is a key national cultural protection site in Haikou. Hai Rui was a compassionate and popular official of Hainan who lived during the Ming Dynasty. He was famous for his lifelong honesty and his willingness to speak out on behalf of local people. In later life, Hai Rui was persecuted and fell out of favor with the emperor. His admirers built the Hai Rui Tomb after his death to commemorate his great works.
The Tomb of Hai Rui Highlight
This tomb rests at Binya Village, Haikou. Born in Qiongshan, Hai Rui was an upright minister during the mid-Ming Dynasty. Highly principled and outspoken, he was called “Lord Bao of the South”. (Lord Bao is the revered name of Bao Zheng, an official of the Song Dynasty who was famous for his honesty in performing official duties, justice in enforcing the law, and bravery in defying influential officials.) The tomb was built in 1589, the 17th year of Emperor Wanli’s reign during the Ming Dynasty.
In front of the main gate of the cemetery stands a high memorial archway on which four big red characters, “Righteousness in Eastern Guangdong (Yuedong Zhengqi)”, were horizontally cut in intaglio. The 100-plus-meter-long passage to the grave is exclusively paved with white marble.
Three more archways stand over the passage, and on both sides of it are stone sculptures of sheep, horses, lions, tortoises and human figures guarding the grave. With a dome-like top, the grave is built on a hexagon base in front of which stands a four-meter-high stone tablet. The inscription of the tablet was written by Xu Ziwei who supervised the tomb’s construction. Exuberant pines, cypresses, bamboo and coconut trees shield the cemetery all year around. And the exhibition room helps deepen the tourists’ understanding of this outstanding official in Chinese history.