On the cover is a laser cut illustration of the famous Ancient Bell Tower of China.
Open the card to a finely detailed 3-D sculpture of the ancient square fortified bell tower of Xi’an, China, with stairs and arches and cast-bronze bells.
During the Ming Dynasty, Xi’an was an important military town in Northwest China. In 1384 Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang built the Bell Tower to dominate the surrounding countryside and provide early warning of attack by rival rulers. Today the stately wooden tower is the largest and best-preserved bell tower from ancient China.
There are several legends regarding the Bell Tower, one is:
In Ming Dynasty, several earthquakes struck Guanzhong area, thousands were dead and injured. Then a legend appeared: there was a great river flowing across the center of Xi’an City. A dragon in the river was always active and caused trouble, so an earthquake occurred. An official of Xi’an government ordered every blacksmith in the city to make thousands of feet of long iron chain in order to lock the dragon and sink it to river. He then ordered 5,000 craftsmen to repair the Bell Tower day and night in order to use the tower to restrain the dragon. He believed this would suppress the dragon firmly under the river so it would no longer be active and cause trouble again. After establishing the Bell Tower, earthquakes never occurred in Xi’an again.
This is a card for historians, for Chinese friends or fans, for architects, blacksmiths, for wisdom.
The first blow is half the battle.
War is Death’s feast.
He who is sure of his victory will not start a war.
Peace and tranquillity are a thousand gold pieces.
If you always give, you will always have.
“If your face is ugly, you can’t blame the mirror.” ~Chinese Proverb
Dig the well before you are thirsty.
When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.
The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
History of Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty:
short version: Zhu Yuanzhang was born a peasant, left home and became a monk, then a rebel leader, and finally became the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty.
more detail: Zhu Yuanzhang was born into a poor family in the 14th century. He was the youngest of seven or eight brothers, several of whom were given away. When he was 16 the Yellow River flooded his home and his parents died of disease. He took shelter in a Buddhist monastery. When the monastery ran out of money and he was forced to leave and beg for food. He returned to the monastery when he was 24, and he learned to read and write there. A few years later monastery where he took refuge was destroyed by Yuan troops.
Zhu Yuanzhang joined a local rebel group. Then the rebels joined a larger Red Turban army that had Zoroastrian and Buddhist beliefs. Zhu Yuanzhang became the leader of the large Red Turban rebel army before he was 30. Eventually he named himself Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty.
He was afraid another emperor, the “Dragon son of Heaven” would fight him for the throne. He order the building of a Bell Tower fortress in Xi’an to suppress the “dragon power.” Zhu Yuanzhang was afraid, so the Bell Tower in Xi’an was built not only quickly, but also very tall.
He reigned for 30 years and died when he was 70. When he died, his physicians and concubines were put to death on his instructions.