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
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.