September 5th, 2020

Phoenix Tower (丹凤楼) on the city wall

Continuing to explore Getty treasures – here are some views of the famous Phoenix Tower (Danfenglou 丹凤楼), perched on the northeastern "corner" of the city wall. In the famous 19th century painting by Cao Shiting, the Phoenix Tower is on the right.

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And here it is half a century earlier, much damaged during the eviction of the Small Swords from the walled city in 1855:

Similarly to Dajing Pavilion, a stylized drawing from the 1860s is rather accurate. Here we have the multi-storied whitewashed building with dark wooden panels around the windows; there is even the brick arch framing the path on top of the city wall, on the right. There is a number of temple halls in front of the tower, dedicated to Tianhou and various Taoist gods.

If we use that drawing as a reference – could this anonymous temple from the same series on Getty be one of the halls of the Phoenix Pavilion, for example, the Thunder God Temple?

And here is the model of Danfenglou in the Shanghai History Museum: