Nine Dragon Screen
The Datong Nine Dragon Screen, built over 600 years ago, and the Datong nine-dragon wall are the biggest and oldest of its kinds in China.
Built in 1392 during the reign of Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty, the Nine-Dragon Wall in Datong was built as a screen wall to go in front of the mansion of the 13rd son of the first Emperor of Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang with it measuring 45.5 metres long, 8 metres high and 2.02 metres wide. Its narrow middle section is composed of 75 glazed tiles with images of oxen, dogs, deer rabbits and other animals.
The wall was made out of glazed tiles and still remains intact today and was engraved with nine dragons. The dragons were painted in different colours and fly swiftly upwards. The space between the dragons was filled with stones and float grasses. 41 groups of pictures of two dragons playing with a pearl are carved into the bottom of the wall. The middle of the wall is decorated with coloured glaze brick, including lifelike cattle, horse, sheep, dog, deer, rabbit and others.
The design of the body is that of a green wave on the lower part and a blue and yellow cloud on the upper part. It consists of nine flying dragons, with a golden-scaled, shiny-eyed dragon located in the centre. On each side is a pair of light yellow dragons with their heads pointing East and tails pointing towards the centre. A second pair of elegant yellow dragons is next to that, with their heads and tails pointing west.
A third pair of ferocious-looking purple dragons seem to be wrestling with the sea. The fourth pair are highly spirited dragons. The nine dragons are life-like and this decoration illustrates their ability of calling the wind and controlling the rainfall. The roof is covered with glazed tiles. There is a pond with a stone bridge located in front of the screen. The reflection of the dragons becomes dynamic, especially when a breeze disturbs the surface of the water.