Tengwang Pavilion

Pavilion of Prince Teng

The Pavilion of Prince Teng or Tengwang Pavilion is a building in the north west of the city of Nanchang, in Jiangxi province, China, on the east bank of the Gan River and is one of the Four Great Towers of China. It has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over its history. The present building was rebuilt in 1989 on the original site.

History

The Pavilion of Prince Teng was first built in 653 AD, by Li Yuanying the younger brother of Emperor Taizong of Tang and uncle of Emperor Gaozong of Tang. Li Yuanying was enfeoffed as Prince Teng in 639 and spent his early years in Suzhou. In 652 he was assigned the governorship of Nanchang where the pavilion served as his townhouse. Twenty years later, the building was rebuilt by the new governor. Upon its completion, a group of local intelligentsia gathered to compose prose and poetry about the building. The most famous of these is the Preface to the Pavilion of Prince Teng by Wang Bo. This piece made the Pavilion of Prince Teng a household name in China down to the present day.

The Pavilion was to be destroyed and rebuilt a total of 28 times over the next centuries. The building itself changed shape and function many times. The penultimate construction was in the Tongzhi era of the Qing Dynasty. That building was destroyed in 1929 during the chaotic warlords era.

The Present

The present Pavilion of Prince Teng was completed on 8 October, 1989, and is now a landmark of Nanchang. The building is of reinforced concrete structure, but decorated in faux-Song Dynasty style. It is 57.5 metres tall and has nine stories. The building has a total floor area of 13000 square metres.

The building sits atop 12-metre tall concrete platform, which is intended to symbolise the now-destroyed ancient city wall. A stainless steel tablet at the entrance is engraved with a calligraphy work of Mao Zedong.

The building mainly serves tourism purposes. Apart from internal decoration, attractions include a theatre staging simulated period musical performances, and displays of reconstructed ancient instruments. There are some restaurants and souvenir shops. The streets around the pavilion have been designed to conform with its style. This area has become the centre of Nanchang's antiques trade.

Influences

The Pavilion of Prince Teng achieved national fame through the Preface to the Pavilion of Prince Teng. As a result, it was endowed by later generations with almost legendary status as an example of magnificent architecture. When the Forbidden City was built, its corner towers were built to imitate the Pavilion of Prince Teng and the Yellow Crane Pavilion as depicted in Song Dynasty paintings. (Strangely, both pavilions are depicted identically in surviving paintings.) These uniquely structured corner towers remain some of the most valued architectural treasures of the Forbidden City.

See also

References

  • Wang, Qiaolin et al. 1996. Jiangnan Famous Site: The Pavilion of Prince Teng (). Baihuazhou Literary Press (). 247 pages. ISBN 7-80579-797-8.

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