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Zengchong Drum Tower

The Zengchong Drum Tower stands in Zengchong Village, 50 kilometers northwest of Jingxian County in Guizhou Province.

Built in 1675 during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Zengchong Drum Tower covers an area of over 100 square meters. The 20-meter-high wooden tower has five stories, 13 eaves and an octagonal, pyramidal roof. The ground floor has four columns and eight eave columns surrounded by wooden railings. The tower, which is octagonal in shape, has a round fireplace 1.4 meters in diameter in the center. There are doors to the south, north and west sides and a horizontal tablet on the ground floor. The tablet, carved in 1830, is inscribed with four Chinese characters that read: Ten-Thousand-Li Soft Breeze. There are also four wooden couplets in the room.

Since there are no stairs linking the ground floor with the second floor, holes in the floor function as steps. The levels above have all been equipped with board steps. A wooden drum hangs on the top of the tower on the fifth floor, and only the elder of the village had the right to sound the drum. The protruding eaves on the fourth and fifth floors are supported by ornamental ruyi-shaped bracket sets (ruyi is an S-shaped ornamental object, formerly a symbol for good luck).

The drum tower plays an important role for people of the Dong nationality. It not only serves as a political center for assembly, but also as a multi-functional place for sacrificial ceremonies and other recreational activities. The tower also acts as court to settle disputes. During an emergency, it also serves as a command post where the leader beats the drum to assemble the villagers. Every Dong village has a drum tower, which has become an important symbol for its people. 

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