Nine Dragon Screen



How to get there:

The Nine Dragon Screen (daily 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.) is easy enough to reach. Located on the south side of Da Dong Jie, it is just a little way east from the three-story Drum Tower on the corner of Da Xi Jie and Da Bei Jie at the heart of the city. The Nine Dragon Screen can be reached via bus No.4 at the Datong Railway Station.

Looking a little stranded without the temple it once protected from evil spirits, the Nine Dragon Screen still manages to impress on its own. The largest and oldest glazed screen in China today, this 600-year-old wonder, built for the Ming Dynasty's first Emperor, is a masterful example of Chinese fire-glazed tile work. Made from a total of 426 glazed tiles, the construction measures 45.5 meters in length and is over two meters tall. 

Cavorting in poses that look at once playful and menacing, the nine sinuous dragons which grace its lengths were said to control the powers of wind and rain and presented an impassable obstacle to evil spirits, who, apparently, could only move in straight lines. To see these vibrant shapes and colors come alive, all you need do is look at the relief's reflection in the long, narrow pond the runs the length of its face, there in the rippling waves, the dragons still curl and speed through the wind.

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