I noticed that throughout China many of the country's ancient buildings and much of its traditional architecture, whilst stunning, often seem to be crafted from decidedly similar moulds. In Beijing alone, there are scores of gates and temples that could ordinarily be viewed as exquisite. Only they drift into anonimity, overshadowed by grander versions of themselves. No ordinary temple could really be seen as too special next to the Forbidden City or Summer Palace.
The Drum Tower in Xi'an, in my eyes at least, suffered from a similar fate. I had already seen the like in Beijing and would see similar again in Yinchuan, Nanjing, and Hangzhou. It was as though it—and many creations like it—blurred in...Read More