*Includes descriptions and accounts of the Porcelain Tower
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
"This porcelain tower is the best of all, displaying the talents and intelligence of Chinese craftsmen...and all of them...I will write a poem to record it, juxtaposing it with all the wonders of the world...and let it be known that I, as a Christian, could be inspired by a pagan temple in China." - Dutch traveler, artist, and historian Johan Nieuhof
The tremendous temples, captivating churches, magnificent mosques, and palatial places of worship around the world come in all shapes and sizes, and pay tribute to an array of gods and deities, but they all share one thing in common. These glorious structures, the pride and joy of a religion, are sacred spaces for prayer, meditation, and the veneration of one's god or gods. As such, they are designed and adorned with the most divine and irreplaceable hallmarks to honor their holy fathers and mothers. While the world today is a far cry from perfect, laws, for the most part, protect these places from those who hold misguided beliefs or harbor misplaced resentment towards its communities.
The oppression of religious groups is a sin only few nations are not guilty of at some point in time. It is also an archaic mindset many would like to believe has been left in the past and has since evolved. While not yet nonexistent, they are arguably much more subtle in most developed countries today. But once upon a time - perhaps surprisingly to some, not too long ago - the harmonious coexistence of these religious buildings was a dream that seemed impossible to achieve due to the distortion of scriptures and canons. Worst of all, as evident in history, time and time again, many of those who held the most toxic of these convictions were those who held the highest authority.
The cold-blooded massacres of so-called heretics and infidels, the fatal stifling of rich religious cultures, and the heartless destruction of centuries-old prayer houses and the priceless artifacts within them are just some of the many consequences that resulted from the rampant abuse of power practiced by past (and some present) sovereigns and ecclesiastical authorities. Most are well aware of the atrocities caused by the Crusades, the Thirty Years' War, and other horrible wars and revolts inspired by spiritual clashes in the West.
The story of the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing includes all of these aspects, and then some. Its origins come from a cradle of creativity and enlightenment fostered by one fabled emperor from the Ming Dynasty bloodline; indeed, it was the pièce de résistance of his career. The Porcelain Tower's history also bore witness to an epoch of turbulence in Eastern history, set in one of the oldest countries in existence - China. The inimitable pagoda towered proudly over the city for some 4 centuries, but it was precisely this perilous patch that would claim what was once considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing: The History and Legacy of One of China's Most Famous Buildings chronicles the remarkable story of the unique structure. Along with pictures depicting important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Porcelain Tower like never before.