Monday, September 22, 2008

Youguo Temple

Youguo Temple is a monastery complex located northeast of Kaifeng, one of the four sacred temples on , in Henan province, China. It was built by the Song Dynasty . The design features a pagoda towering in the center of the complex, a style that flourished in Chinese Buddhist temple architecture through the 11th century. The temple's original pagoda was a mammoth octagonal wooden tower thirteen storeys and 120 metres high. The eminent architect Yu Hao designed and engineered it. The architectural style features densely positioned ''dougong'' in the eaves and multiple storys . The exterior features more than fifty different varieties of brick and 1,600 intricate and richly detailed carvings, including those of sitting , standing monks, singers and dancers, lions, dragons and other legendary beasts as well as many fine engravings. Under the eaves are 104 that ring in the wind. The foundation rests in the silt of the Yellow River. Inside the Iron Pagoda are frescos of the Chinese classical novel, the Journey to the West.

In 1847 the Yellow River overflowed its banks and the Youguo Temple collapsed, but the Iron Pagoda survived. Historically, the pagoda has experienced 38 earthquakes, six floods and many other disasters, but it remains intact after almost 1000 years.

Xumi Pagoda

The Xumi Pagoda or Sumeru Pagoda, also known as Summer Pagoda is a Chinese pagoda of the Buddhist Kaiyuan Monastery west of Zhengding, Hebei province, China. This square-base stone and brick pagoda was built in the year 636 AD during the reign of of the Tang Dynasty . It stands at a height of 48 m and has been well preserved since its initial construction. The left side of the statue was damaged and is missing, and was found in the year 2000 while an excavation was underway under a city street nearby the pagoda.

Three Pagodas

The Three Pagodas are an ensemble of three independent pagodas arranged on the corners of a symmetric triangle, near the town of Dali, Yunnan province, China, dating from the time of the Nanzhao kingdom and Kingdom of Dali.


The Three Pagodas are located about 1.5 km miles north of scenic Dali, Yunnan province. They are at the east foot of the tenth peak of the massive Cangshan Mountains and face the west shore of the Erhai Lake of the ancient Dali town.


The Three Pagodas are made of brick and covered with white mud. As its name implies, the Three Pagodas comprise three independent pagodas forming a symmetric triangle. The elegant, balanced and stately style is unique in China’s ancient Buddhist architectures, which makes it a must-see in the tour of Dali. The Three Pagodas, visible from miles away, has been a landmark of Dali City and selected as a national treasure meriting preservation in China.

The main pagoda, known as Qianxun Pagoda , reportedly built during 824-840 AD by king Quan Fengyou of the Nanzhao state, is 69.6 meters high and is one of the tallest pagodas in China’s history. The central pagoda is square shaped and composed of sixteen stories; each story has multiple tiers of upturned eaves. There is a carved shrine containing a white marble sitting Buddha statue at the center of each fa?ade of every story. The body of the pagoda is hollow from the first to the eighth story, surrounded with 3.3 meters thick walls. In 1978, more than 700 Buddhist antiques, including sculptures made of gold, silver, wood or crystal and documents, were found in the body during a major repairing work. The designers of the pagoda are supposed to have come from Xi’an, the capital of Tang Dynasty at that time and the location of another pagoda, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, which shares the similar style but is two hundred years older.

The other two sibling pagodas, built about one hundred years later, stand to the northwest and southwest of Qianxun Pagoda. They are 42.19 meters high. Different from Qianxun Pagoda, they are solid and octagonal with ten stories. The center of each side of every story is decorated with a shrine containing a Buddha statue.

There is a lake behind them. Named (聚影池) ''Juying Chi'' , the pond is known to be able to reflect images of the Three Pagodas.


The Three Pagodas was initially built for auspicious reasons. According to local legends, Dali was once a swamp inhabited by breeding dragons before the humans arrived. As the dragons, which were believed to deliberately create natural disasters to dispel human intruders, revered pagodas, the Three Pagodas were built to deter the dragons.

The Three Pagodas are well known for their resilience; they have endured several man-made and natural catastrophes over more than one thousand years. Their mother building was known as Chongsheng Monastery and was once the royal temple of the Kingdom of Dali and one of the largest Buddhist centers in south-east Asia. It was originally built at the same time as the first pagoda, but was destroyed in a fire during the rule of the Qing Dynasty. The temple was later rebuilt in 2005. It was recorded that Qianxun Pagoda had been split in an earthquake on May 6th, 1515 AD . However, it miraculously recovered ten days later in an aftershock. The most recent record of severe earthquake in the Dali area occurred in 1925. Only one in one hundred buildings in Dali survived, but the Three Pagodas were undamaged.

The central Qianxun Pagoda was built sometime in the latter half of the 9th century . During repairs in 1979, three copper plates were found at the bottom of the steeple which recorded the exact years of previous repairs, those being 1000, 1142, and 1145.


Small Wild Goose Pagoda

The Small Wild Goose Pagoda, sometimes Little Wild Goose Pagoda , is one of two significant in the city of Xi'an, China, the site of the old Han and Tang capital Chang'an. The other notable pagoda is the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, originally built in 652 and restored in 704. The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built between 707–709, during the Tang Dynasty under Emperor Zhongzong of Tang . The pagoda stood 45 m until the 1556 Shaanxi earthquake. The earthquake shook the pagoda and damaged it so that it now stands at a height of 43 m with fifteen levels of tiers. The pagoda has a brick frame built around a hollow interior, and its square base and shape reflect the building style of other pagodas from the era.

During the Tang Dynasty, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda stood across a street from its mother temple, the Dajianfu Temple. pilgrims brought sacred writings to the temple and pagoda from India, as the temple was one of the main centers in Chang'an for translating Buddhist texts. The temple was older than the pagoda, since it was founded in 684, exactly 100 days after the death of Emperor Gaozong of Tang . Emperor Zhongzong had donated his residence to the building of a new temple here, maintaining the temple for 200 monks in honor of his deceased father Gaozong. The temple was originally called the Daxianfusi or Great Monastery of Offered Blessings by Zhongzong, until it was renamed Dajianfusi by Empress Wu Zetian in 690.


Qizu Pagoda

The Qizu Pagoda , located at Fengxue Temple of Ruzhou, Henan province, China is a stone, multi-eaved Chinese pagoda built in 738 during the Tang Dynasty. The pagoda was built in honor of a , while the name of the structure was given by Emperor Xuanzong of Tang himself.

This brick pagoda is located behind the main hall of the temple. It has nine stories, is 27 m tall , and has a square base. The outstretching eaves of the pagoda form an inverse curve, indicative of pagodas built during the early Tang Dynasty. It's design style is comparable to the Xumi Pagoda built a century earlier.

Pagoda of Tianning Temple (Changzhou)

The Pagoda of Tianning Temple is a modern Chinese pagoda of Changzhou, Jiangsu, China. Construction began in April 2002 while the opening ceremony for the completed structure was held on April 30, 2007, where a crowd of hundreds of monks gathered for the ceremony.

Structural features

The grounds for the Tianning Temple Pagoda occupies a space of 27,000 m2 .

Religious significance

On the completion of the new pagoda at Tianning Temple, the mayor of Changzhou, Wang Weicheng, explicitly correlated his city's economic development with that of . Following the end of religious persecution after the tumultuous Cultural Revolution , the Chinese Communist Party has relaxed it control over religion, especially Chinese Buddhism, which has some 100 million adherents within the People's Republic of China. The deputy abbot of Tianning Temple, Kuo Hui, said that like other religions Buddhism advocates peace and harmony, with ideas that could be beneficial to Chinese society. He also stated that the pagoda was rebuilt to "inherit the fine traditions of Buddhism and to honour ." The pagoda is dedicated to .

Pagoda of Cishou Temple

The Pagoda of Cishou Temple , originally known as Yong'anwanshou Pagoda , is a 16th century stone and brick Chinese pagoda located in the Cishou Temple of Balizhuang , a suburb of Beijing, China. This octagonal-shaped pagoda is roughly 50 m tall, with elaborate ornamental carvings, thirteen tiers of eaves, and a small steeple. The Cishou Pagoda was built in 1576 during the Ming Dynasty , commissioned by Empress Dowager Li during the reign of the Wanli Emperor . The Cishou Pagoda was modelled upon a similar outside Guang'anmen in Beijing. The style of eaves on the pagoda is similar to older Liao Dynasty and pagodas. Although the surrounding Cishou Temple has been destroyed, the original Ming pagoda of Cishou has remained unharmed except for noticeable weathering damage to the carved reliefs on its exterior facade.

The brick base of the pagoda is shaped as a sumeru pedestal and is decorated with relief carvings of the , lotus petals, and other designs. The upper portion of the pagoda features carved designs of such as the guqin. Stylistic ''dougong'' supports—commonly found in —are carved in between the eaves of the pagoda.