Architectural tile with apsara, from the “Porcelain Pagoda”
Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Yongle Period (1403–24)
Not on view
Now destroyed, the so-called Porcelain Pagoda, a tower constructed of white porcelain bricks, was begun in 1413 by order of the Yongle emperor. Built to honor his mother, it was finished about two decades later. The tower was considered an important monument by Westerners and was often illustrated in travel guides. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) sang its praises in a poem entitled Keramos.