The Nine Dragon Screen inside the Forbidden City is considered among the best preserved of these walls in China. If you look carefully at the white dragons, one of them has a piece of wood on its stomach. According to local legend, the artisan responsible for the wall added the wood to replace a piece of broken glazed tile to meet his deadline. Guides on most walking tours of the Forbidden City will point out the screen and its relevant details.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Palace Museum is one of Beijing’s busiest attractions; book a tour with skip-the-line access to save time.
- Don’t forget your camera; the Nine Dragon Screen offers a colorful backdrop for a group photo.
- Other notable Nine Dragon Screens in China can be seen in Beijing’s Beihai Park and opposite the Prince’s Palace in Datong.
- The Forbidden City offers little shade, so bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water.
How to Get There
The Nine Dragon Screen is in front of the Palace of Tranquil Longevity inside the Forbidden City. To get there by public transportation, take subway Line 1 to Tiananmen or Tiananmen East Stations and enter the Palace Museum through its main gate.
When to Get There
To avoid crowds at this popular Beijing attraction, plan to arrive at the Forbidden City first thing in the morning before the ticket office opens. Avoid visiting on weekends and Chinese national holidays.
Symbolism in the Nine Dragon Screen
Symbolism has long served an important role in Chinese design. For example, the dragon in the center of the screen is painted purple and yellow, colors signifying royalty to represent the Emperor. The wall was made from 270 individual glazed tiles. The number 270 is divisible by five and nine, both numbers symbolic of power and supremacy.
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- Inner Court (Nei Ting)
- Imperial Garden of the Palace Museum
- Treasure Gallery
- Meridian Gate (Wumen)
- Forbidden City (Palace Museum)
- Jingshan Park (Jingshan Gongyuan)
- St. Joseph's Church
- National Art Museum of China (NAMOC)
- Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace)
- Beihai Park (Beihai Gongyuan)
- Wangfujing Street (Wangfujing Dajie)
- Donghuamen Night Market
- National Museum of China (NAMOC)
- Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Guangchang)
- Monument to the People’s Heroes