The East Royal Tombs of the Qing Dynasty at Zunhua, Hebei Province, north east of Beijing, are relatively late, the earliest dating from 1661, but they follow the same general pattern as earlier tombs and have the advantage of being well preserved, and their relationship with the surrounding landscape is still relatively unspoiled. The axial route is reasserted on approach to the primary tomb of the site, that of Emperor Shunzhi. The Shunzhi Emperor died unexpectedly of smallpox, aged only 23, in 1661, with the tomb decided but not yet built, and so there was a 2-year delay before his interment. The tomb and its spirit way were, therefore, not mere memorials, but part of a more universal system of architectural representation. In a society where the emperor was Son of Heaven and the souls of past emperors were a guarantee of continuity, their place of rest was a sacred place, and its architecture was an exemplary model.