Standing in Zengchong Village, 82 Kilometres northwest of Congjiang, Zengchong Drum Tower is the largest and oldest drum tower in Guizhou and also a major cultural relic under state protection.
First built in 1672 in the Qing Dynasty, the drum tower is a 25-metre-high, 13-storey structure. The top two stories are constructed in an arch structure of exquisite workmanship. On its top floor was a large leather drum, three metres long and 0.5 metres in diametre, that is used to mobilise the villagers. The wooden tower is in the shape of a pagoda with a twin gourd-shaped top and a ceramic crown.
The drum tower is the highest and most revered structure in the village. A giant drum within the tower served in the past as a warning device against invasions. In ancient times, villagers assembled at the tower with their weapons to await orders from the head of their clan.
The lower pavilion of each tower is where villagers congregate during festivals and special meetings. People often gather there in the evenings, to listen to traditional folk songs. After harvests, young people hold festive dances on the grounds surrounding the drum tower.
The outline of a Dong drum tower resembles a fir tree, a sacred tree in Dong culture. Some anthropologists have suggested that the Dong people used to be treedwellers, since they are believed to be a branch of the ancient Yue people, a treedwelling tribe.
China tours inclusive of visiting Zengcong Drum Tower