Robert Indiana kept a series of illustrated journals during the late 1950s and 1960s, in which he discusses the development of his work as well as his daily life on Coenties Slip.
In this journal page, which he began on January 15, 1959, Indiana records that he gilt the painting Ninth State (later retitled Nine Golden Orbs). He also describes a visit with Jack Youngerman and his wife, the actress Delphine Seyrig.
Indiana returned to this journal page a year later, on January 15, 1960, with a sketch and discussion of his construction Wall of China. Notes around the sketch indicate that the work is metal on wood, 48 x 54 3/4 inches, and consists of his "old drawing board [and] pieces of junk fr[om] Water Street." He declares that after much contemplation he had finally brought the elements together and produced what he had "long considered to be an embyronic [sic] 'Wall of China.'"