Nine Dragon Screen


Emblazoned with nine coiling dragons picked out in coloured glazed tiles, this is one of the finest yǐngbì (影壁) spirit walls in China (it has two counterparts in Beijing). It's also the largest, at 45.5m long, 8m high and 2m thick. Built in the Ming dynasty in 1392, the palace it once protected belonged to the 13th son of a Ming emperor and burnt down in 1644. Amazingly, the palace is being rebuilt in its entirety, covering a vast area of town.

Screens such as this provided protection not against physical attack, but against marauding, malevolent spirits, so they can be considered as the front line in feng shui defence.

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