Porcelain Tower of Nanjing Facts

Do you get in trouble for playing with your parent’s porcelain plates?

This fragile material is usually handled with care and is just for decoration.

However, during the Ming Dynasty in the 15th century, an entire tower was built out of it!

This incredible building was known as the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing.

The tower is a pagoda which is a traditional form of building in Chinese architecture.

It was located on the south banks of the Yangtze River, in China. Emperor, Yong Le, designed the beautiful building and it took 17 years to be completed!

This building took many knocks over the years, it was first hit by lightning in 1801 and the top three stories were destroyed! 50 years later, during the Taiping Rebellion, most of the structure was ruined.

Porcelain Tower of Nanjing Facts for Kids

  • It may be obvious, but the building gets its name because it was built from porcelain bricks!
  • Another name for the tower is Bao’ensi. When you translate this, it means ‘Temple of Repaid Gratitude’ – and it certainly was repaid when it was rebuilt, rebuilt, and rebuilt again!
  • It is one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval Ages and is the youngest of these all.
  • It was built to be a place of Buddhist worship that would celebrate the country’s culture.
  • The emperor who designed by the building was the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty.
  • Did you know that it stood at almost 80 meters tall? At the time it was one of the tallest buildings in China. The base of the building was 30 meters wide.
  • The building stood at nine stories high and the staircase inside comprised of 184 steps – that is a lot!
  • The outside of the building was the greatest attraction. The top of the tower had a beautiful golden sphere and some described it as looking similar to a pineapple!
  • During the day, the sun reflected off the white porcelain bricks and this actually helped the tower to stay cool.
  • It was equally as beautiful in the evening when 100 hanging lamps around the tower were lit.
  • After the building was destroyed in the time of the Taiping Rebellion, they repurposed the rubble and it was used for the construction of other buildings! Recycling is always a good idea, even back in 1850!
  • The tower was not rebuilt after the destruction but in 2010 a Chinese businessman, Wang Jianlin, donated US $156 million towards the reconstruction of the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing. This donation was also the largest personal donation to ever be made in China – record breaking!
  • The site where the tower used to stand tall and beautiful was cleaned up and reconstruction began.
  • The new tower is made out of steel and glass – a modernized version! The tower is in the Porcelain Heritage Park and this includes many exciting things such as a futuristic Buddhist-theme museum. The park was opened in 2015.


Question: During which dynasty was the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing built?
Answer: Ming Dynasty

Question: What purpose did the white porcelain bricks serve, apart from their beauty?
Answer: Helped the tower to stay cool

Question: Which rebellion destroyed the tower?
Answer: Taiping Rebellion

Question: What shape is the top of the building?
Answer: Beautiful golden sphere

Question: What religion was worshipped in the tower?
Answer: Buddhist