The Porcelain Tower at Nankin [Nanjing, China] by James Henry Butt

The Porcelain Tower at Nankin [Nanjing, China]

James Henry Butt

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Product details The Porcelain Tower at Nankin [Nanjing, China]

The Porcelain Tower at Nankin [Nanjing, China]

James Henry Butt

The tower, also called the Porcelain Pagoda was a celebrated Buddhist structure, built at Nanjing in the early 15th century of elaborately decorated white-glazed ceramic brick and illuminated at night with about 140 lamps, as shown on the drawing. It was of nine storeys, 260 feet tall (79 m) and 97 feet (30 m) across the octagonal base, with a central staircase. In 1801 it was damaged by lightning and restored, but during the Taeping rebellion of the 1850s the rebels who took over the city first destroyed the stairway to prevent its use as an observation tower against them and in 1856 completely demolished it. It was then largely forgotten until later archaeological investigation recovered parts, many now in the Nanjing Museum, and there have been recent proposals to rebuild it. There are various Western eyewitness accounts of the tower, and images of it. Butt's view is apparently based on a rather more heavily populated British 19th-century landscape-format engraving, adapted to vertical format.
Lt. James Henry Butt

Original size: 235 mm x 165 mm

  • Image ref: PT2052
  • National Maritime Museum

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