Western Palaces, Forbidden City, Beijing (map)

Wenshou are zoomorphic (animal-form) roof ornaments, that occupy the roof corners of nearly every building in the Forbidden City. The lead figure is an immortal riding a phoenix, or an official riding a chicken (there are several folkloric explanations of this character, none of them convincing). The back figure is a horned dragon, a qilin. In between are a (usually) odd number of figures, three in this case; the more figures, the more important the building.

Below the zoomorphs we see criss-crossing layers of cylindrical tiles that recall the wood-and-bamboo origins of the Chinese roof; below that, in the lower left-hand corner, a makara, a water-dragon who protects the structure against fire.