Nine-Dragon Screen in Datong

Nine-dragon Screen in Datong
Nine-Dragon Screen Pictures
The Datong Nine Dragon Screen, built over 600 years ago, is presently the oldest and largest glazed screen in China today. It is three times larger than that in Beihai Park , Beijing City.

The screen, built for the thirteenth son of Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), has been well preserved and remains intact to this day. It is made up of 426 specially-fired glazed bricks, with a height of 8 meters (about 26 feet), 2.02 meters (6.6 feet) thick and 45.5 meters (149 feet) long. The Screen can be divided into three parts, the pedestal, body and roof.

The pedestal is rectangular shaped with a height of 2.09 meters (6.9 feet). Its narrow middle section is composed of 75 glazed tiles with images of oxen, dogs, deer rabbits and other animals.

The design of the body is that of a green wave on the lower part and a blue and yellow cloud on the upper part. It consists of nine flying dragons, with a golden-scaled, shiny-eyed dragon located in the center. On its each side is a pair of light yellow dragons with their heads pointed East and tails pointed towards the center. A second pair of elegant yellow dragons is next with their heads and tails pointed west. A third pair is ferocious-looking purple dragons which seem to be wrestling with the sea. The fourth pair is highly spirited dragons. The nine dragons are life-like and illustrating their ability of calling the wind and controlling the rainfall. The areas around them are supplemented with images of plants, mountains, stones, water and grass. These patterns along with the nine dragons compliment each other.

The roof is covered with glazed tiles.

There is a pond with a stone bridge located in front of the screen. The reflection of the dragons becomes dynamic, especially when a breeze disturbs the surface of the water.

Tip: The best time to visit the Nine Dragon Screen is from June to October due to monsoon season. You may take bus No.4 at the Datong Railway Station.
Admission Fee: CNY 10
Opening Hours: 9:00 to 16:50
Recommended Time for a Visit: One and a half hours
Bus Route: 4
- Last updated on Jul. 11, 2022 -
Questions & Answers on Nine-Dragon Screen in Datong
Asked by tommy from USA | Nov. 01, 2016 07:54Reply
How far apart are the Datong Grottos and Hanging Monistaries and Dragons?
I want to see all three but i am short on time.
Answers (1)
Answered by Jim from USA | Nov. 02, 2016 03:07

The Hanging Monastery is about 53 miles (86km) from the screen. The Yungang Grottoes is about 14 miles (22km) away from the screen. If you have limited time, you may skip the Hanging Monastery. :)
Asked by Maria from GERMANY | Apr. 01, 2015 09:08Reply
I'd like to visit Grottoes, Hanging monastery and nine-dragon screen in one day.
Can I go first to monastery and from there get to the screen, and from the screen go to grottoes? if so, which bus can I take? does this itinerary make sense or shall i visit those places in another order?

thanks in advance,
Answers (3)
Answered by Dave | Apr. 03, 2015 04:45

Your order is OK. Go to the monastery early to avoid long queue as the road up is narrow. Then go back to down town to have a look of the screen (if you are not a historian, 5 minutes are enough); then head to the grottoes.

One day is a little tight as the monastery and grottoes are far from each other (1.5-2 hours if drive directly). You'd better hire a bus; about CNY300-400 per day.
Answered by Marvin from SINGAPORE | Feb. 13, 2017 03:25

Hi, we are thinking of hiring a bus (6 persons) for going around Datong (1 day) and a drive to Pingyao (the other day). Can you advise where we should go to hire transport?

Answered by Maria from GERMANY | Feb. 13, 2017 04:52

Hi Marvin,

I went there in April 2015. We hired taxi at the square in front of the train station and got to the monastery. We had just one day there, so we waited in the queue for the monastery and unfortunately did not get in there, the line was too long (it was a public holiday). We went to grottoes instead and there was no queue. Both sights are amazing and I strongly recommend you to visit both.

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