Shanxi Datong Nine Dragons Screen, China

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Datong Nine Dragons Screen

The Nine Dragons Screen sits on East Street Road of Datong City in Shanxi Province. It was uilt in late Ming Dynasty (1386 ~ 1644A.D.), with the origin as counter wall, opposite to the gate of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang's palace.

Chinese believes in "Dragon", hence the patterns of dragon always symbolize the emperor, authority and propitious. "Dragon pattern" were on his clothes, caps, chair, bed more the better so it is everywhere.

The first emperor of Ming Dynasty, Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang of course had his palace decorated with carvings of vivid dragons and tigers which could boast his status and power.

As time passed, most royal buildings would suffer from historical shocks, and without good preservation they turn in to ashes and rubbles and eventually disappeared. Fortunately, the Nine Dragons Screen has survived these changes, standing still as representative of antique royal buildings and history-valued tourist attraction.

The Nine Dragons Screen of Datong is one of the three antique royal Nine Dragons Screens, which all have been preserved well today. It measures 8 meters high, 2.02 meters thick and 45.5 meters long. Nine vivid dragons are flying on the huge wall as if they were not carved but living.

Accompanying the big dragons is the sea of cloud with rough waves. Besides, the ridges are carved with lotuses and flying dragons. The entire surface of the screen consists of 426 colorful custom made glazed bricks. Each flying dragon has a special pose and come in different colors. On the two sides of the wall, the sun and the moon patterns impress people with the imagination of the dragons flying in the sky.

In front of the huge screen, there is a pool with clear running spring. Dragons also occupy the places inside and outside the pool. The top of the Nine Dragons Screen is wood carved items covered with glazed color tiles and sustained by glazed brackets.

For the bottom, there are 41 patterns, each displaying two dragons playing a ball. In addition, the waist of the wall is made up of 75 glazed bricks, if you take a closer look it is filled with decorated lively animals patterns.

The Nine Dragons Screen of Datong is the earliest royal dragon screen well preserved today. In addition, it is one of the only three standing throughout history. Rare as it is, it is so strange. Being rare and strange, tourist who has been to Datong would not want to lose the opportunity to visit this Nine Dragons Screen.

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