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Important Person Related With the Great Wall

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Important person related with the Great Wall

Tan Lun, President of the Board of War and Qi Jiguang, commander of Jizhen fortressed town (during the reigning years of Long Qing and Wan Li in the Ming Dynasty) contributed a great deal in the construction of the Great Wall.

The high "fence" watchtowers are a new addition to the Great Wall, previously unknown. They were built by patriotic generals Tan Lun and Oi Jiguang. During the JiaJing reigning years, Tan Lun, then prefecture magistrate of Taizhou, Zhejiang province and later governor of Fujiang, successfully defended China's coastal areas against invading Japanese forces with the help of Qi Jiguang, his chief officer.

The book "Ming Shi" or History of the Ming Dynasty gives an account of one Wu Shilai, petitioning the emperor to appoint Tan Lun and Qi Jiguang to train Chinese soldiers. Tan Lun was given the post of commander of Jizhen. Liaodong and Baoding forces, where as Qi Jiguang headed the training corps of 30,000 soldiers from Jizhen, Zhending, Daming,Jingxing and elsewhere.

The same books says that Emperor Mu Zong entrusted all military affairs to Tan Lun,who inspected the Great Wall. Tan Lun and Qi Jiguang outlined a plan to build 3,000 watchtowers from Juyongguan Pass to Shanhaiguan Pass in order to gain control over vital points along the defence line.

When the watch towers had been completed, 9,000 soldiers from Zhejiang province were dispatched to station on the Great Wall. The border defence having thus been greatly strengthened, the enemy was no longer able to harass the border region.

Qi Jiguang describes more detail in a book on military training about the building and use of watch towers. Previously, said Qi, the Great Wall had been built rather thin and low and had become dilapidated. Small stone and brick terraces were unconnected with the wall. Soldiers had to stand under glaring sunshine or in frost and rain and were given no shelters. It was difficult to send military supplies during an emergency. The supplies could not be stored in the wall, as no such facilities existed. When enemy came in great number, they could hardly shoot arrows at the enemy on a higher position. In view of this, it was imperative that watch towers with spacious rooms had to be built to block enemy from further advance. The watch towers were three or four zhang in height. The width was 12-18 zhang. The watch towers were connected with each other and could send reinforcement to neighbors. Watch towers were like fences standing on the Great Wall.

According to Qi Jiguang the method of building watch towers was like this: There was to be a base, which was level with the edge, stretching out one zhang and five chi outside and five chi inside the wall. The middle layer was empty with windows for discharging arrows. The upper floor was a lockout turret, surrounded by battlements. The soldiers were to be hidden inside. The lower layer was the place where cannons were to be fired on approaching enemy. The enemy were now held at bay: their arrows could not reach the soldiers on top of the wall. Their cavalry dare not approach the Great Wall.

Each tower was headed by an officer, who coordinated defence. The tower itself had a head officer and an assistant, in charge of logistics. On both sides were 30-50 soldiers. For every five watch towers there was a higher ranking officer. A still higher officer was in charge of ten watch towers. The military was well organized.

"Ming Shi" has a chapter on the biography of Qin Jiguang which says that since JiaJing's reign there were no towers even though the Great Wall had been built. Qi Jiguang suggested to the emperor that towers should be built on the wall, with battlements all around. Each tower was to be five zhang in height. It was empty inside. One hundred soldiers could sleep in it, with provisions of food and supply of weaponry. Qi Jiguang said that plan for the construction of 1,200 towers should be drawn up by engineering corps.

A recent study of actual sites reveals that over 1,000 km-Great Wall from Shanhaiguan Pass to Juyongguan Pass the structures of thousands of fence watch towers coincide with the description given in literature. In watch towers tablets have been found with writing of Tan Lun and Qi Jiguang. Similar towers are found in the section between Changzhen and Zhenbaozhen, built according to plans conceived by Qi Jiguang.

Important person related with Great Wall of Ming dynasty


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