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The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing in China - History and Facts

By Edited May 29, 2015 1 0

Porcelain Pagoda

The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing is no longer exist. The tower (also known as Porcelain Pagoda) was located on the south bank of Yangtcze. Other name known includes ‘Baoensi’, meaning “Temple of Gratitude”, it was consructed during the Ming dynasty as a Buddhist pagoda, this is why it is also called as Porcelain Pagoda. However, the tower was destroyed during the Taiping rebellion around 19th century.

The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing was designed by Chinese Emperor Yong Le. It was the largest building at that time in China. The pagoda was octagonal in shape with 97 feet in diameter and 260 feet  (79 m) in height. This amazing tower radiated sunrays and also functioned as a center of pilgrimage, unfortunately it was only existed up to the middle of 19th century. It was discovered by the Western world when Johan Nieuhof and other European travelers visited it, sometimes it is also listed as the Seven Wonders of the World.

The Porcelain pagoda was first damaged by a bolt of lightning that struck in 1801, its top three stories were knocked off but restored soon after that. The second disaster was made by human through the Taiping Revolution, the tower was destroyed by the Taiping in 1856. At that time, the rebels wanted to stop the citizens from using the pagoda as a hide away, they destroyed the stairs inside so that they cant use the tower to attack from above. The tower remained standing but nobody used it, in 1856 the pagoda was destroyed completely by the same rebels. The remnants of the pagoda were lying uncared for years but recently the government has shown their interest to rebuild the pagoda in the same style. The original blocks of its arched door had been pieced back together and displayed at the Nanjing Museum.

The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing was an octagonal pagoda, adorned with 140 bright lamps hung on it to illuminate the structure at night. This Buddhist pagoda was also built with porcelain bricks that reflect sunlight, making it a bright and impressive sight to behold on the horizon. The white porcelain bricks were dyed and glazed with green, red, yellow and brown patterns in order to create images of flowers, people, animals and certain scenarios. This nine-storied tower also had a staircase in the middle which spiraled upwards for 184 steps. Its large long spire originated from the eight floor and stood all the way up to the roof.

‘The Closing Events of the Campaign in China’ – a book written in 1843 by Granville Gower Loch, contains a detailed description of the Porcelain Pagoda as it existed in the early 1840s. It is said that the original plan for the tower comprised of 13 stories with a height of about 330 feet.

Feng Shui pagoda is used by many people (especially in Asia) to enhance education luck and prosperity.

Porcelain pagoda
The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing


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