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The lost Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, ranked one of the seven wonders of the medieval world, is back in Nanjing more than a hundred and fifty years after it was destroyed. One of the most famous of Chinese buildings, the tower was constructed in the 15th century by the Ming Dynasty’s Yongle Emperor in honor of his deceased mother. It was part of a large complex of the Bao'en Temple. Neither the original temple nor the tower survive today.

The tower was built with glazed white porcelain bricks that were said to glitter in the sunlight. Worked into the porcelain of the walls was a mixture of green, yellow, brown and white glazes and stonework shaped in the form of animals, flowers, bamboo, landscapes and Buddhist images.


Early illustration of the Porcelain Tower, from “An embassy from the East-India Company” (1665) by Johan Nieuhof

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.

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