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Nine-Dragon Screen

Nine-Dragon Screen, which is three times larger than the one in Forbidden City, Beijing. According to the historical record, it was built for the Prince Hongwu, the 13th son of the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD). And there is an interesting story behind this screen.


Vivid flying dragons Delicately carved eaves

It is said that the Prince Hongwu was deprived of the position of crown prince and driven out from the Forbidden City to Datong, when his father, First Emperor of Ming Dynasty, found that the son was too stupid to inherit the throne. Later the fourth son of the emperor, Zhu Di, was endorsed as the new crown prince. Prince Hongwu was rather angry about what his father did to him and very jealous of his brother Zhu Di. Some day he went visit the Forbidden City and discovered that a gorgeous nine-dragon screen was newly built. The prince started to quarrel with his brother, arguing that he also had the right to establish a like screen in his villa in Datong. To put an end to the quarrel, the bored Zhu Di provided the design sketch to Prince Hongwu. Happy and satisfied, Princess Hongwu went back to Datong and asked the local craftsmen to build a much larger nine-dragon screen for him. Consequently we have the largest Datong Nine-Dragon Screen.

Today the nine mighty dragons engraved in the screen don't look less wonderful than they were centuries ago a bit. They stretch 45 meters long and 6 meters high. The 426 azure stones that compose the dragons also keep their gloss and grandeur. The 2-meter-high bottom is lit up with 41 pairs of playing-with-pearl dragons. Connecting the big nine dragons and 41 small ones is an embossed part, picturing various animals like horse, sheep, dog, deer, rabbit and so on. Though six hundred years is past, the screen still lives up to its great fame.

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