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Yuci City, Shanxi, China
Xuanjian Tower, part of a complex dating to the 13th century, is the main feature of the Town God’s Temple in Yuci. The 18-meter-high tower was built entirely of wood in the Taoist style in the Yuan period and then renovated during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
In the 1950s, when the site became occupied by a rubber shoe factory, the appearance of the tower was significantly altered and many of its wooden elements were removed. As road surfaces near the temple were built up with new materials but without proper drainage, rainwater flooded the tower’s foundation and caused it to rot and erode.
HOW WE HELPED
With support from American Express, WMF helped the city of Yuci in its conservation of Xuanjian Tower. Murals were cleaned, roofs were retiled and rotten rafters, floors, and other wooden supports were repaired. The exterior surfaces were repaired; windows, doors, and balustrades were either repaired or replaced. A new drainage system was created to assure long term protection of the structure. Most work was completed in 2002. Because of the successful conservation of the Xuanjian Tower, many additional conservation projects were implemented in the historic district of Yuci City including several residential courtyards which date from the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries.
WHY IT MATTERS
Included on the 2000 World Monuments Watch to call attention to its architectural significance and its fragile state, Xuanjian Tower is an important Taoist structure that faced years of neglect. While many carved features were removed in the twentieth century, the structure retains distinct features that showcase the fine craftsmanship and traditional motifs. The tower represents an important structure in the development of Chinese architecture.