Also known as the Porcelain Pagoda and the Temple of Gratitude, this tower was one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval Ages and one of the tallest buildings in China at that time. Designed by the Chinese emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty during the 15h century as a Buddhist place of worship, this tower lost the top three stories in 1801 due to lightning, but was restored in 1834. Again in the 1850s, the Taiping Rebellion smashed the Buddhist images as well as the inner staircase, which had served as an observation post. Reportedly nine stories high, this tower was decorated with images of humans, dragons, lions, and other entities. Numerous Buddhist images also decorated the tower. The top of the roof had a golden sphere. Originally, its base was 97 feet in diameter octagonal in shape with a height of 260 with 136 spiral steps to climb. The porcelain bricks of the tower used to reflect the sun’s rays during the day to keep it cool. Reportedly many lamps were hung to illuminate the tower at night.
Granville Gower Loch has mentioned elaborately about this Tower in his book “The Closing Events of the Campaign in China” as it existed in the 1840s. Emperor Yongle had originally planned a tower of 13 stories with a height of 330 feet. It is interesting to note that this tower is under reconstruction now.