The Great Wall Of China
The Great Wall Of China measures 8,850km (5,500m) in total length. The original concept for the wall came as a result of the different dynasties and tribes waging frequent war against one another. The first wall was made out of dirt and gravel, but was limited in its ability to provide protection only from basic hand weapons. During the Ming Dynasty, the construction of a more substantial wall was undertaken in order to provide defense against other tribes that were a threat to their power or lands, such as the mongols. The Ming Dynasty`s wall was more advanced due to using materials such as stone and brick with mortar, which resulted in a much stronger wall. There is estimated to have been up to 25,000 watch towers to defend against the reoccurring Mongolian raids. The Chinese were extremely devoted to the wall as a primary source of defense, so as it would break they would go and fix it immediately.
There isn`t complete agreement on the exact trail of some of the wall sections due to some parts being under ground over the course of time. Some of the sections near Beijing are preserved for the tourism industry, whereas in other areas bricks are taken by local villagers and used for the building in smaller villages. The wall is a threat from the desert storms, which result in deterioration and erosion.
The item in my collection is a small fragment of mortar from the Ming Dynasty section of the wall. It is approximately 2.5x3.75cm (1x1.5in) in size. It was from a part of the wall that had naturally fallen off due to erosion and weathering, and was collected under the authority of the government of China, which had given permission for the section to be removed.