The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing


The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, China, out on the banks of the Yangtze River. The Chinese people call it the Boa’ensi or the “Temple of Gratitude”. However warfare and the subsequent destruction overtook it in the 19th century and is now under reconstruction. It is an elegant example of a Buddhist pagoda.

During his visit to China in the early 19th century, Le Comte, the French mathematician described it as “the best contrived and noblest structure of all the East.” The brilliant white porcelain bricks of the tower were what made it unforgettable.

By day, the bricks glittered in the sun, and at night they were illuminated by perhaps as many as 140 lamps hanging around the exterior of the pagoda. Worked into the porcelain panels were colourful stoneware tiles with green, yellow, white, and brown glazes forming images of animals, landscapes, flowers. And bamboo. Each drawing was hand painted, carefully etched and tinted with vibrant colours. The brilliant tiles glitter in the sun making the site of this tower unforgettable.

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