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Chinatown has dragon art

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In major, U.S. cities, there are Chinatowns. In one form or another, all Chinatowns have dragons. (Chicago’s Chinatown has its dragons.)

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Immediately visible when visitors enter Chinatown at Cermak Road and Wentworth Avenue are nine dragons on an ornate wall within a black, iron gate. (All descriptions in this article are for the wall’s, front side.) This wall is on Cermak Road’s, northern side between the CTA, train depot and Wentworth Avenue. Vehicles traveling southbound on Clark Street that turn west onto Cermak Road can see these dragons. Northbound vehicles exiting from the Dan Ryan Expressway on the Cermak Road ramp can see these dragons.

The wall’s, official title is The Nine Dragon Wall in Chicago’s Chinatown. This wall is approximately 60 feet wide and 35 feet high. Its dedication was Sep. 9, 2003. This wall resembles the Beijing, China wall. There are two, other, somewhat similar walls; one is in Datong, China and the other is in Shanxi Province, China. This art originated with the Ming and Qing dynasties.

On the wall are three, gold dragons; two, brown dragons; two, white dragons; and two, blue dragons. Each of the dragons has a different vertical and horizontal position. All are sinuous. They each have different heads and postures.

Numerous, Chinese symbols in two rows are right above and right below these bas-relief dragons. The upper row mainly has a blue-green shade. The bottom row mainly has a gold shade.

The wall’s roof is gold and blue-green. It consists of 44, scroll-like forms in the section right below the topmost level. The topmost level has nine, green dragons, and two, projecting, unidentified objects on each side.

The bottommost layer’s writing is blue-green and gold. Declaring “Welcome to Chicago’s Chinatown” in Cantonese and English, this writing is bas-relief. All of this bottom writing is set onto a concrete block that has approximately the same width as the roof.

Since dragons are mythological creatures (Archaeologists have not found any dragon fossils.), such art would qualify as Fantasy Style. However, it is possible that Komodo Dragons are descendants of now extinct, fire-breathing dragons.


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