Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Porcelain Tower of Nanjing

The lost Porcelain Tower of Nanjing was ranked one of the seven wonders of the medieval world. In the 17th century porcelain was an expensive luxury ware that came only from China. When Dutch traveller Johan Nieuhof wrote about the tower in his China memoirs,  it captured the imagination of Europeans and became one of the most well-known pieces of Chinese cultural heritage abroad, and subsequently, a national treasure for China.

The tower stood for four hundred years until 1801, when it was hit by a bolt of lightning and  the top four stories were destroyed. It was rebuilt but, during the Taiping Civil War in the 1850s, rebels took control of the city and eventually destroyed the tower completely.

Details from the Nanjing Tower's arched door. Photo credit: www.talknj.com

In December 2015 the Porcelain Tower Heritage Park opened to the public. The highlight of the park is the reconstructed Buddhist temple, featuring theporcelain pagoda. The park also includes a conservatory of the ruins exhibiting Buddhist relics and past archaeological discoveries.

Unfortunately the modern tower is not made of porcelain but of steel and glass and lacks the grace of the original structure.

Thanks Bruce!

More: Amusing Planet

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