Hai Rui's Tomb is situated in the western outskirts of Haikou City. It represents people's esteem towards Hai Rui, an upright and uncorrupted official. It was originally built in 1589 during the Ming Dynasty (1368 -1644), and some of the constructions in the tomb garden remain intact. With an area of over 4,000 square meters, the layout was designed according to the level of the official titles at that time. Today it is rated as the Key Cultural Relic Preservation of Hainan Province.
Who is Hai Rui?
Hai Rui (1514 - 1587), born in Hainan Province, was an official in the Ming Dynasty. He is famed as a statesman for his honesty and performance of his duty as well as his clean life. After his death, people chose the location in obedience to his spirit from 'heaven'.
One typical story illustrates his honesty. After seeing the emperor wink at the corruption of court officials, he prepared a coffin for his death and said farewell to his wife. Then he went to the emperor, expressing his criticism and advice. His words were not accepted but cost him his court position and he was jailed. After his release, he returned to his hometown and helped with irrigation projects. At the age of 72, he was employed again by the court to work in Nanjing, and passed away in the third year of his service.
His integrity also gained people's recognition. When he worked for the court, he was needy and could not pay for servants. He wrote articles or inscriptions for others in order to earn money. This was quite uncommon because in Chinese feudal society, most officials had servants and lived a rich life. After his death when people helped clear up his mementoes, they were surprised to find only eight taels of silver and a few clothes.
On the day they buried Hai Rui, their admired official, all the people ceased their own matters to attend the funeral, crying and grieving. When the coffin was carried to the very spot where the present tomb is situated, the rope of the coffin broke and people believed this was the place that Hai Rui chose for himself. Thus the tomb was built on that spot.
What to see?
Tomb of Hai Rui is a place worthy of a visit because there you can not only view the scenery and constructions, but also know more about Hai Rui. Going across the Hai Rui Bridge and entering the tomb garden, you will be greeted by the exuberant pines and coconut palms and sweet lotus, which make the garden tranquil and simple. Along the path stand stone statues of lions, goats and horses. Walking forward and stepping up three levels of stairs, you can see a stone tortoise carrying a stele on its back.
Thirty meters farther still on the third level is the tomb area of Hai Rui. In front of it lies an incense burner which is also solemn. On each side stand four 4-meter-high monuments by Hai Rui's disciples and colleagues. Behind those, are the four levels of stairs and the tomb of Hai Rui.
The tomb is surrounded by white granite. It is 3.3 meters high and faces to the west. The base of the tomb is octagonal with four carved stories. On these stories is a round ceiling made out of pieces of vesuvianites from Hainan Island.
A pavilion stands behind the tomb with two couplets by Hai Rui, both praising his honesty. Going to its back you will see the Qingfeng Pavilion displaying Hai Rui's stories and relics, and you can understand why he has been respected by generations of people.
Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Opening Hours: 08:00-18:00
Transport: Bus No. 1,16,19