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Tamaudun (玉陵?) is a mausoleum in Shuri, Okinawa, built for Ryūkyūan royalty in 1501[1] by King Shō Shin, the third king of the Second Shō Dynasty a short distance from Shuri Castle.

The site, covering an area of 2,442m²,[2] consists of two stone-walled enclosures, the three compartments of the mausoleum itself facing north and backed by a natural cliff to the south.[3] A stone stele in the outer enclosure memorializes the construction of the mausoleum, and lists the name of Shō Shin along with those of eight others involved in the construction.[2] The three compartments of the mausoleum are laid out from east to west, with kings and queens in the eastern compartment and the princes and rest of the royal family in the western compartment, the central compartment used for the Ryukyuan tradition of senkotsu;[2][3] remains would only be kept here for a limited time, after which the bones were washed and entombed.[4] The shisa (stone lions) guarding the tomb are examples of traditional Ryūkyūan stone sculpture. The architectural style of the mausoleum represents that of the royal palace at the time, which was a stone structure with a wooden roof.[2][4]

Eighteen kings are entombed at Tamaudun, along with their queens and royal children. The first to be buried there was King Shō En, for whom the mausoleum was constructed upon the orders of his son and successor, Shō Shin. The last was former Crown Prince Shō Ten, son of the Ryūkyū Kingdom's last king, Shō Tai, who was entombed there on September 26, 1920. The structure suffered extensive damage in the 1945 battle of Okinawa, and was subsequently looted,[1] but the tombs and royal remains themselves remain intact, and much of the structure has been restored in the years since the end of the war. It was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on December 2, 2000, as a part of the site group Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.[2]

Royalty entombed[edit]

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  1. ^ a b Kerr, George H. Okinawa: The History of an Island People (revised ed.). Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing, 2000. p109.
  2. ^ a b c d e Official pamphlet obtained on-site
  3. ^ a b Kadekawa, Manabu. Okinawa Champloo Encyclopedia (沖縄チャンプルー事典). Tokyo: Yama-Kei Publishers, 2001. p56.
  4. ^ a b c Official plaques and gallery labels on-site.
  5. ^ Nakamura, Toru. 沖縄の世界遺産玉陵被葬者一覧 (Tamaudun, World Heritage Site of Okinawa - List of Persons Entombed). October 2005. Accessed 24 August 2008.
  6. ^ This is a title, not a name. This person was the wife (indicated by kanashi) of the anji (an aristocratic rank and administrative post/title which might be translated as "local lord") of Aoriya (a placename). See also Okinawan family name for the ways in which these terms were typically used by the Ryukyuan aristocracy at the time in place of personal names.

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Coordinates: 26°13′06″N 127°42′53″E / 26.21833°N 127.71472°E / 26.21833; 127.71472